God really hates the destruction of the poor. Yet again, He talks about His people walking all over them, but this chapter’s different, in that God’s had enough. “I will not overlook their sins anymore” (Amos 8:2). It’s not just talk this time; He’s showing Israel there are consequences for their disobedience. “The whole land will shake because of it”, and its people will mourn for their dead (Amos 8:8).
When God talks about the sun going down at noon and the earth being darkened, like a time of crying for the death of an only son (Amos 8:9-10), I can’t help but think of Jesus’ crucifixion day. Yes, the shuddering reality is that our wrongdoing displeases God, but the marvellous truth is that Jesus took our punishment when He died on that cross – when the sky was darkened for three hours.
Here in Amos 8 though, God’s talking not only about a physical darkness, but a spiritual one. “The Lord God says: ‘The days are coming when I will cause a time of hunger in the land. The people will not be hungry for bread or thirsty for water, but they will be hungry for words from the Lord. They will wander from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea, from the north to the east. They will search for the word of the Lord, but they won’t find it’” (Amos 8:11-12). After this was written and before Jesus’ birth, there were apparently four hundred years when God didn’t speak through any prophet – the silent four hundred years, I’ve heard them called, and perhaps we’ll experience another time like that before Jesus returns. So what to take away from this? Well, I’m reminded of a phrase in Isaiah 55:6, which simply says: “Seek the Lord while he may be found”. If there’s something inside you that longs for God, reach out for Him with all your heart; I know you’ll find Him.