Summary: A sermon on Amos 8:1-6 (Outline and material adapted from Charles Spurgeon's sermon, A Basket of Summer Fruit, on the same text: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0343.htm)
Watermelon, peaches, grapes, cantaloupes, homegrown tomatoes. Summer fruit right off field!
One time working on a farm, far away from water, just break open a watermelon... so good!
Got a sandwich from Subway, leave off tomatoes, put homegrown on sandwich, star of meal!
Residents of ancient Israel looked forward to summer fruit, too. It was a time of joy and feasting. In Judah they would have a religious festival of the harvest, kind of like our Thanksgiving in October where they would bring some of the produce of fields to temple.
Not sure where Amos is at this point in his ministry. In northern Israel at this time, they also would have a religious festival of the harvest at Bethel, Dan and maybe even Samaria. These religious festivals would mimic much of what Judah did in the south. However, in the north there would be the calf idols set up by the kings of Israel at these religious centers.
At this time of the year the Lord gives a vision to Amos of a basket of ripe, summer fruit. Wherever he is, Amos comes on the scene and gives some words of judgment to the chosen people. His words would not be well accepted at such a time and place. This religious festival was to give thanks to God for his bounty and to pray that God would bless with another good crop in the coming year. Instead, Amos talks about dead bodies and how God will spare them no longer because of their sins focusing here on corrupt business practices.
Amos was a man who know something about ripening summer fruit. Amos 7:14: Amos answered Amaziah, "I was neither a prophet nor a prophet's son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees.”
A more correct translation might be bruiser of sycamore fruit. It was believed in the East that it would never ripen except it was a little bruised, so that some person was employed with an iron comb to scratch and wound the skin. Unwounded, the fruit, even when ripe was too bitter to be eaten; but after it had been wounded, it ripened rapidly, and became sweet.
Summer fruit will not keep, thrown out many a rotten tomato, it must be eaten at once. Amos sees here that God’s purposes are now ripe with regard to His people Israel, and that the nation has become ripe in its sin- so ripe that it must be destroyed.
Thesis: We see from this that there is a ripeness in the purposes of God, a ripeness for a nation, a ripeness for each Christian, and a ripeness for the ungodly.
Ripeness in the purposes (timing) of God
In the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Galatians 4:4: But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law. Other translations, the right time
In the second coming it will be the same way. 2 Peter 3:7-9: By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
We might wonder why hasn’t this or that happened, why did this or that bad thing happen. Our time is not the Lord’s time.
Why isn’t this happening? Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Why did this bad thing happen? I don’t know but I hold onto the promise in Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Cheer up, Christian! Things are not left to chance: no blind fate rules the world. God has purposes, and those purposes will be fulfilled in His way and in His time.
Ripeness for a nation
There is a need when a nation has become ripe in sin that it should be given up to destruction. There are such things as national sins, and there are consequently such things as national punishments. In looking back upon history of the world, believers in God with an interest in history confess that there have been such things as national judgments sent from hand of God.
God said that the Israelites would drive out the Amorites and Canaanites but not in Abraham’s time. Why? Genesis 15:16: Because sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.