Old Testament reading: Amos 8-9
Israel is a basket of summer fruit. Of this description, I believe Adam Clarke’s comments are compelling given the circumstances in Israel and the general tenor of the book. Clarke notes that summer fruit is not only the last harvest of the season, it is also unfit for preservation. Thus, Israel is ripe for destruction as the recipient of God’s wrath. There’s also a well known phrase, at least among preaching circles, in Amos 8:11 – “I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” Many believe this phrase applies to the people’s unwillingness to hear God’s word, but this is not correct. Rather, God is going to cease the sending of His prophets to preach to the people. Verse 12 shows this to be the case, as the people would wander all over, running to and fro seeking the word of the Lord, but not finding it. Amos 9:2 closes this great book with words similar to those in Psalm 139:8, but there is a great difference in the intent of each author. In Psalm 139 David is extolling the greatness of God concerning the comfort of His omnipresence, whereas in Amos 9 the prophet is saying, “You cannot escape God when His wrath comes upon you.” Thus, the omnipresence of God comforts the faithful and vexes the wicked.
New Testament reading: 1 Thessalonians
“Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9). Being forbidden by God to preach in Asia, Paul and his company were directed to Macedonia to preach the gospel there. There was something special about the people of this region. Thessalonica was a chief city in Macedonia, and Paul commended these particular brethren as great examples of faith to all who were in Macedonia and Achaia (1 Th 1:6-10). Philippi was also a part of this region to the east, and they were among his most beloved brethren. Then there are the noble Bereans to the west (Acts 17:10-11). Remember the “noble” distinction applies to the Jews and not the people in general (see Day 319). Paul repeatedly commended the Macedonians in general for their faith and their great generosity (2 Cor 8-9). There are just some places where the people in general are particularly special. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true (Titus 1:12-13)!