James Nisbet Commentary - Amos 9:9 - 9:9

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James Nisbet Commentary - Amos 9:9 - 9:9


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

THE GARNERING OF THE LEAST GRAIN

‘I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.’

Amo_9:9

There is double comfort here, as to others and as to ourselves.

I. As to others.—Have not some of us had a scarcely detected notion as if to some extent the salvation of others depended upon our efforts? Of course, we never put it in so many words; but has there not been something of a feeling that if we tried very hard to win a soul we should succeed, and if we did not try quite enough it would get lost? And this has made our service anxious and burdensome. Cannot we trust Him Whom the Father trusted with the tremendous work of redemption? Shall He not do right? Cannot we trust the Good Shepherd about His own sheep? Why should it actually seem harder to trust Him about His own affairs than about our own? ‘Trust in Him at all times,’ includes the time when we almost fancy the salvation of a dear one depends on our little bits of prayers and efforts. Not that this trust will tend to easy-going idleness. It never does this when it is real. The deepest trust leads to the most powerful action. It is the silencing oil that makes the machine obey the motive power with greatest readiness and result.

II. Then the comfort for ourselves.—Satan has desired to have us, that he may sift us as wheat; but the Lord Himself keeps the sieve in His own hand, and pledges His word that not the least grain shall fall on the earth.

I am so glad of that word, ‘not the least; not even me, though less than the least of all saints, though having only the claim of being a sinner.

Illustrations

(1) ‘This prophecy about the sifting of Israel among the nations is the story of eighteen centuries of the Christian era. God seems to have cast away His people whom He foreknew. As the farmer throws up the grain against the wind, so has God sifted them, yet the nation has remained intact. Not the least grain has been unnoticed or forgotten. Surely God will yet sow the unmowed grain in the soil of all the earth, and harvests of souls shall result.’

(2) ‘A marvellous chapter. It begins with an announcement of the certainty of the punishment of the guilty. Let them climb never so high, or burrow never so deep; let them scale the loftiest hills, or plumb the deepest seas, yet would vengeance follow and overtake them. What hope is there for the sinner to contend successfully against Him, Who builds His chambers in the heavens, and founds His vaults upon the earth, and at Whose bidding the waves roll in upon the land? The great desolations which have befallen the mighty nations and cities of former days, prove how strict God is to mark iniquity.’