Amos 9:9
"For surely I will give the command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve, but not a pebble will reach the ground.
Sermons
Divine SiftingHenry Smith.Amos 9:9
Divine SiltingAnon.Amos 9:9
Sifting and SalvationJ.R. Thomson Amos 9:9
The SieveAmos 9:9
The Winnowing of GodA. Rowland Amos 9:9
WinnowingW. Clayton.Amos 9:9
God as the Administrator of JusticeD. Thomas Amos 9:5-10
Migrations from KirA. S. Wilkins, M. A.Amos 9:7-10
Sin Dissolving the Union Between God and His PeopleJ. Telford, B. A.Amos 9:7-10
If any prediction could convince the reader of the Old Testament that the prophets spoke and wrote under a supernatural inspiration, surely this prediction must possess this virtue. The history of Israel, not only in times immediately following upon those of Amos, but throughout the centuries which have since elapsed, is just a fulfilment of this language. How picturesquely and forcibly is the truth presented under this similitude, so natural as employed by one familiar with all the processes connected with husbandry!

I. THE PROVIDENTIAL SIFTING APPOINTED FOR THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.

1. It has been determined by the Divine Ruler and Lord. "I will command," says Jehovah. Men may trace the history of the Jews with the design of showing that all the events which have occurred to that people are explicable upon ordinary principles, that Israel drops into its place when marshalled by the enlightened philosopher of history. But beneath all such theory there is an explanation which satisfies the intelligence of the thoughtful and devout student of God's Word: the Lord has ordered it.

2. It has taken place in different lands, and throughout lengthened periods. "Among all the nations," was the expression of the inspired prophet. The successive invasions of Palestine, the conquest of Israel and then of Judah, the captivity into the East, the settlements in Assyria and in Persia, the partial restoration to the land of promise, the subjection of Palestine to successive conquerors, and its subjugation by the Romans, the dispersion among the Gentiles, the scattering of the sons of Israel amongst the nations, alike in the East and the West, - these are but some of the more salient points in a history the most remarkable, the most romantic, and yet the most painful, in the Annals of mankind.

3. It has been ordained for a purpose of a moral and beneficial character. Sifting is for the purpose of separating the chaff and refuse from the pure grain. A process of sifting, winnowing, tribulation (in the literal meaning of that word), has been going on throughout the ages. Even yet the purposes of God are very partially accomplished, for the process is continued; nor is there any sign of its immediate termination.

II. THE DIVINE PRESERVATION OF THOSE SUBJECTED TO THIS TRIAL. Not a grain shall drop out of sight and perish. It is a wonderful paradox - sifting and salvation, trial and protection, scattering and gathering, alike experienced. Yet the marvellous story of the chosen people supports to the letter this ancient representation. It is the simple, actual, literal truth.

1. This protection is apparent in the preservation of the Israelites daring the Oriental captivity. This was even made to minister to the religious purity and enlightenment of a nation previously inclined to fall into idolatrous worship.

2. We recognize it equally in the preservation and the national or tribal distinctness of the Jews in the ages which have elapsed since the destruction of Jerusalem. The corn has been sifted, but the grain has not been lost. "Whom he scattereth he shall gather."

3. There is a fulfilment of this inspired declaration in the individual conversions to God which have from time to time taken place among those who have been trained among the unbelieving and rebellious. As a nation Israel has never ceased to endure chastening. But members of the community, individual sons and daughters of Jacob, have again and again been seen to turn unto the Lord whom their fathers grieved by their ingratitude and insensibility. Precious grains have thus been preserved and gathered into the garner and saved.

4. Such cases are an earnest of a more complete fulfilment of the prediction. So - such is the assurance of the Christian apostle - "all Israel shall be saved." - T.







I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall net the least grain fall upon the earth.
The winnowing of corn was effected in various ways. Sometimes by the mere operation of the wind blowing through the barns where it was thrashed, — when the worthless chaff was separated and dispersed. Which similitude well expressed the character and condition of the ungodly, who are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. As the action of the wind is very uncertain, the shovel was early used by agriculturists. The sieve and fan were, however, very soon invented and brought into use. Now, machines save much manual toil, and speedily and more effectually, answer the end proposed. The security of the true grain, amidst the winnowings to which in Divine wisdom it is exposed, is affirmed in our text.

I. THEY THAT WILL LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS MUST SUFFER PERSECUTION. Never can we be sufficiently grateful for the quiet and toleration we enjoy in this favoured island. Yet a degree of persecution winnows the Church at the present day. The finger of reproach is still pointed against the youthful convert, etc.

II. SEVERE TEMPTATIONS WINNOW CHARACTERS. Temptations are as various as our circumstances, ages, or peculiar situations in life. It may be some time before the particular trial, well adapted to reach our case, may occur. Poverty has proved a snare to many; prosperity to more. There are temptations which chiefly affect the mind.

III. ADVERSE OCCURRENCES MAY BE CONSIDERED AS THE SIEVE BY WHICH ISRAEL IS SIFTED. Personal adversity tries the character. Relative afflictions winnow our families. The Church has her winnowing times. At the period of death, the last and greatest extremity, the character is sifted as corn is sifted in a sieve. But the Lord commands His loving-kindness in the day of our trial, and in the night is our song to the God of our life. In conclusion, take a retrospect of all the way which the Lord our God has lcd us these many years in the wilderness. Various haw, been the sifting occurrences of our lives. Anticipate the period when we shall be finally sifted, and separated alike from the husks of our own imperfections and frailties, and the chaff of all carnal and ungodly associations.

(W. Clayton.)

I will sift the house of Israel.

I. IT IS A DIVINE SIFTING. The Oriental mode of sifting illustrates the Divine method.

1. The primary reference is to the Jews.

2. Then to the Church of God as a whole.

3. Also to individual members of the Church.

II. THE MANNER OF SIFTING. "As corn is sifted."

1. The sifting suggests a mixed condition of character and condition. The mixed condition of things in the Church of God necessitates a sifting process. And the mixed experience of individuals necessitates various Divine siftings. Happy would a Church, family, or individual be, if it could be said to be altogether wholesome grain and pure.

2. The sifting of corn must be done prudently and patiently. Some grains require a finer sieve than others.

3. Sifting discriminates between chaff and corn. It does not create either chaff or corn, but makes each manifest. So all deceits and mere appearances are exposed by God's siftings. There is no such thing as permanent concealment of character in the moral world.

4. The sifting is thorough. There is an individual discrimination as well as a Church sifting. Each grain is severely subjected to this sifting.

III. THE MEANS WHEREBY THE DIVINE SIFTER SIFTS THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.

1. By the manifold changeful experiences of life.

2. A faithful ministry is a Divine sieve by which the great Husbandman sifts the grain.

3. Temptations of the devil.

IV. THE DESIGN OF THE DIVINE SIFTINGS OF LIFE. There is then a call to submission, gratitude, patience, hopefulness, and searching inquiry.

(Anon.)

This prophecy is originally applicable to the long-afflicted seed of Israel. And how terribly has it been fulfilled. Apply to the spiritual Israel. Two things to remember — the sifting and the saving.

I. THE SIFTING. God has ordained that this side Jordan there shall be no rest for His people as to their outward circumstances. As long as the wheat lies on the threshing-floor the flail must be kept in motion. The Church of God since its institution has never been perfectly pure. The Church has shared in the imperfection of everything else that is human. Then, wheresoever and whensoever God has a Church, it is sure to be in the sieve. Take this fact in reference to the Church at large. Illustrate from the history of the persecutions of the Christian Church. Other sieves besides persecution have been used. There is the sieve of heresy. The uprising of new infidelities acts as a test to the Church. At divers times the public mind exhibits a strong tendency towards unbelief. One wave rolls up black with superstition, and the next is pale with infidelity. The mind of man oscillates like a pendulum between believing a lie and believing nothing. Another sieve is that of providential examination by public opinion and sense of justice. You must never expect that any professing Church of God will be for a long time flourishing if it abide exactly in the same state. Whenever our Churches run for years in the same rut, little good is done. We must expect often to hear that the ship of Christ's Church is in a storm. Purification will be the result of agitation. Certain sieves in which you and I shall be.

1. The preaching of the Word. Wherever the Gospel is faithfully preached, it acts as a discerner of spirits.

2. Temptation. The daily temptations of the shop, the house, the field, the street, yea, even the Church of God, are the discoverers of sincerity, the detectives of delusion, the exposers of hypocrisy, and the beacons of wisdom.

3. The trials of life. There are temptations in prosperity. That is a sieve which few men can pass. Few men can endure long-continued, undisturbed prosperity. Capuau holidays ruined Hannibal's troops. Adversity acts in the same sifting manner.

4. Inward conflicts. There are times with us when everything in us is salted with fire.

5. The hour of death has often served as a touchstone by which formality has been revealed.

6. And what a test the day of judgment will be!

II. THE SAVING. A few comfortable words. Sifting is not a pleasant experience. The farmer sifts his wheat because it is precious. And our trials, changes, catastrophes, and afflictions are no proof of want of affection on the part of the Most High, but the very contrary. The farmer does not mean to destroy the grain when he puts it into the sieve. God will chasten, but He will not destroy. The promise of the text is, "There shall not the least grain fall to the ground." He who holds the sieve watches with an observant eye, and acts with an unlimited power. The least corn of wheat He keeps His eye upon. Much sifted, but not lost; much tempest-tossed, but not shipwrecked; much put into the fire, but never consumed. Blessed be God for all that.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

When the Lord sends a soul- stirring message through His servant Amos, He avails Himself of an agricultural figure. I will sift the house of Israel.

I. IT IS A DIVINE SIFTING. The Oriental method of sifting illustrates the Divine method.

1. The primary reference is to the Jews.

2. To the Church of God as a whole.

3. To individual members of the Church.

II. THE MANNER OF SIFTING. "As corn is sifted."

1. The sifting suggests a mixed condition. The mixed experience of individuals necessitates various Divine siftings.

2. The sifting of corn must be done prudently and patiently. Some grains require a finer sieve than others. And often one sifting is not sufficient.

3. Sifting discriminates between chaff and corn. It does not create either chaff or corn, but makes each manifest. There is no such thing as permanent concealment of character in the moral world.

4. The sifting is thorough. Every grain is sifted. There is an individual discrimination as well as a Church sifting. Each grain is severely subjected to this sifting.

III. THE MEANS WHEREBY THE DIVINE SIFTER SIFTS THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.

1. By the manifold changeful experiences of life.

2. A faithful ministry is a Divine sieve. Such was the ministry of Amos.

3. Temptations of the devil are sieves through which the enemy desires to destroy good grain.

IV. THE DESIGN OF THE DIVINE SIFTINGS OF LIFE. To purify unto Himself a peculiarly holy people. Whatever the manner and means of sifting this is the design. If these things are so there is a call to —

(1)Submission,

(2)Gratitude,

(3)Patience,

(4)Hopefulness,

(5)Yea, searching inquiry.

(Henry Smith.)

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