The Time Is Ripe
The agriculture business has changed a lot with technology. Likewise, modern super-markets have virtually separated all of us from the produce we eat and its production. Thus, when the Lord drops an agricultural analogy, we must make sure we understand.
Amos is on his third of three depictions of the “Day of the Lord.” And, as one of my seminary professors said, “The ‘Day of the Lord’ is any day when God intervenes dramatically and directly in order to punish or to bless.” In the case of the northern kingdom, Israel, The Day of the Lord as Amos is predicting in this passage is the upcoming invasion by Assyria some years later.
Back to the AG analogy. Agriculture takes a lot of work to make things grow. You must cultivate the field, get it ready to plant. You have to till up the ground and plant the seeds. You have to fertilize, water, and keep away weeds and pests. If you do it right, after time passes you enter into a season of harvesting.
Unfortunately for Israel, their land had been cultivated with idolatry starting with Jeroboam in 1 Kings 12. Continual seeds of idolatry were planted and grew with the worship of pagan gods like Asherah, Anat, & Baal. Finally, Israel’s failure to repent fertilized and irrigated as wickedness and injustice grew. Now, God says, the fruit is ripe and it’s harvest time.
“In that day, declares the Sovereign Lord, “the songs of the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!” (8:3, NIV) That Day, that came about 40 years after the book of Amos, was very bad. God used the nation of Assyria to judge the unrepentant idolatrous nation of Israel for their sin. Verses 3–14 prophesied how bad things were during that time—a lot of people died, there was famine and thirst, in every place there was mourning.
Hearing of the Lord’s judgment, and how bad things would turn out to be, could cause us to question God’s goodness. However, although these events did come to pass, Amos and many other prophets were sent in order to prevent these events. In those day, it is likely that many people remembered the words of the prophets and regretfully said, “What the prophets said was true and I should have listened.”
The “Day of the Lord” as used in Amos and other OT books is ultimately a foreshadowing of the real “Day of the Lord” when Christ returns on that great and terrible day. We are currently in a season of growth, but the harvest is coming. On that day, many people will say with regret, “What my friend said was true;” or worse, “Why did no one tell me about this?”
Let it not be that on that day, there were people in your life to whom you never reached out, never prayed that the Holy Spirit would draw them to Christ. You cannot control it if on that day your friend says, “What my friend said was true!” But what you can control is that nobody in your life approaches that day with ignorance. To say it another way, you are not responsible for someone to accept Christ, but you are responsible to share the good news of his salvation from the coming Day of Judgment.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate