Ripe fruit, a Remnant, and a Redeemer

2 01 2012

DAY TWO HUNDRED : Amos 8 v. 1 – 9 v. 15; Romans 5 v. 12 – 21; Proverbs 17 v. 15 – 24

AMOS
A Basket of Ripe Fruit – God shows Amos a basket of ripe fruit and asks the prophet, ‘What do you see?’. I do love the way the prophets, and then Jesus in the NT, speak God’s truth through observing the ordinary, lilies of the field, birds in the air, the potter at his wheel etc..God still whispers to us, ‘What do you see…?’
Obviously, Amos replies that he sees a basket of ripe fruit. Then the message follows :
‘The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.’
and He foretells the turning of temple songs into wailing, with numerous bodies strewn all over the place, then a deadly silence.
His message is particularly for those who trample the needy, and reject the poor, keen to earn a quick buck, cheating with dishonest scales, keen to end the Sabbath to get on with their dirty dealing, ‘buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals…’. God is truly distressed by the inhumane treatment of the poor and needy within Israel, and He won’t forget what people have done.
There is a punishment coming to Israel – the land will tremble, its inhabitants will mourn, the land will sink into the river.
The sun will go down at midday, the earth will be dark; religious celebrations will become funeral wakes; sackcloth and shaven heads will abound.
A famine is coming – not of food or water, but ‘a famine of hearing the words of the Lord’. Could there be anything worse? A silent God?
People will stagger and search in vain for God’s word.
Young men and women will grow weak, thirsting, and those who swear by other gods will ‘fall, never to rise again.’

Israel to Be Destroyed – Next, Amos ‘sees’ God, standing by the altar, and the Lord says
– the pillars and the thresholds will shake, and fall on the heads of all the people
– others will die by the sword; no-one will escape
– can’t dig deep enough, can’t climb high enough, the Lord will get them, on sea or on land
– even when exiled by the enemy, they will not escape the sword
– ‘I will fix my eyes upon them for evil and not for good’
The Lord God is Almighty, and can do all these things He has warned. His palace is in the heavens, its foundation on the earth. He commands the seas. ‘The Lord is His name.’
Just as God drew Israel out of Egypt, so God draws Israel’s enemies against them. His eyes are on His sinful kingdom, and it will be destroyed.
‘Yet I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob’.

Israel’s Restoration – God does foretell a restoration of ‘David’s fallen tent’, the broken places will be repaired, the ruins restored. The remnant of Edom will be reclaimed, and one day all nations will bear His name.
‘The days are coming when…
– the reaper will be overtaken by the ploughman, the planter by the one treading grapes
– new wine will drip from the mountains, flowing from all the hills
– I will bring back my people Israel
– ruined cities will be rebuilt, vineyards replanted, gardens replanted with fruit
– ‘I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them’

Destruction is coming to Israel, but a remnant will return and rebuild the city….

ROMANS
Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ – Paul’s argument moves on:
– sin entered the world through one man, and through him, death (death came to all men, because all sinned…)
– death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses
‘But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!’
– the judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation; the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification
‘how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through one man, Jesus Christ.’
one trespass brought condemnation for all men, one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men
– the trespass of one man made many sinners, the obedience of one man will make many righteous
– sin has increased, so that ‘grace increased all the more…so that grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’

PROVERBS
God hates injustice, where the guilty get off free, and the innocent are condemned.
Money is pointless in the hands of fools.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
He who loves a quarrel, loves sin…
A man of perverse heart does not prosper; he whose tongue is deceitful falls into trouble.
There is no joy for the father of a fool…
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Bribes are wicked, as are those who accept them.
A discerning man keeps wisdom in view…

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