on Amos 5 :18
Wo unto you that desire the day of the Lord - The prophet had often denounced the coming of God's day, that is, of a time of judgment; and the unbelievers had said, "Let his day come, that we may see it." Now the prophet tells them that that day would be to them darkness - calamity, and not light - not prosperity.
on Amos 5 :18
Woe unto you that desire - for yourselves.
The Day of the Lord - There were "mockers in those days" 2 Peter 3:3-4; Jde 1:18, as there are now, and as there shall be in the last. And as the "scoffers in the last days" 2 Peter 3:3-4; Jde 1:18 shall say, "Where is the promise of His coming?" so these said, "let Him make speed and hasten His work, that we way see it, and let the council of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it" Isaiah 5:19. Jeremiah complained; "they say unto me, where is the word of the Lord? let it come now!" Jeremiah 17:15. And God says to Ezekiel, "Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, the days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? The vision that he seeth is for many days, and he prophesieth of the times far off" Ezekiel 12:22, Ezekiel 12:27. "They would shew their courage and strength of mind, by longing for the Day of the Lord, which the prophets foretold, in which God was to shew forth His power on the disobedient."
Lap.: "Let it come, what these prophets threaten until they are hoarse, let it come, let it come. It is ever held out to us, and never comes. We do not believe that it will come at all, or if it do come, it will not be so dreadful after all; it will go as it came." It may be, however, that they who scoffed at Amos, cloked their unbelief under the form of desiring the good days, which God had promised by Joel afterward. Jerome: "There is not," they would say, "so much of evil in the captivity, as there is of good in what the Lord has promised afterward." Amos meets the hypocrisy or the scoff, by the appeal to their consciences, "to what end is it to you?" They had nothing in common with it or with God. Whatever it had of good, was not for such as them. "The Day of the Lord is darkness, and not light." Like the pillar of the cloud between Israel and the Egyptians, which betokened God's presence, every day in which He shows forth His presence, is a day of light and darkness to those of different characters.
The prophets foretold both, but not to all. These scoffers either denied the Coming of that day altogether, or denied its terrors. Either way, they disbelieved God, and, disbelieving Him, would have no share in His promises. To them, the Day of the Lord would be unmixed darkness, distress, desolation, destruction, without one ray of gladness. The tempers of people, their belief or disbelief, are the same, as to the Great Day of the Lord, the Day of Judgment. It is all one, whether people deny it altogether or deny its terrors. In either case, they deny it, such as God has ordained it. The words of Amos condemn them too. "The Day of the Lord" had already become the name for every day of judgment, leading on to the Last Day. The principle of all God's judgments is one and the same. One and the same are the characters of those who are to be judged. In one and the same way, is each judgment looked forward to, neglected, prepared for, believed, disbelieved. In one and the same way, our Lord has taught us, will the Great Day come, as the judgments of the flood or upon Sodom, and will find people prepared or unprepared, as they were then. Words then, which describe the character of any day of Judgment, do, according to the Mind of God the Holy Spirit, describe all, and the last also. Of this too, and that chiefly, because it is the greatest, are the words spoken, "Woe unto you, who desire," amiss or rashly or scornfully or in misbelief, "the Day of the Lord, to what end is it for you? The Day of the Lord is darkness and not light."
Rup.: "This sounds a strange woe. It had not seemed strange, had he said, 'Woe to you, who fear not the Day of the Lord.' For, 'not to fear,' belongs to bad, ungodly people. But the good may desire it, so that the Apostle says, 'I desire to depart and to be with Christ' Philippians 1:23. Yet even their desire is not without a sort of fear. For 'who can say, I have made my heart clean?' Proverbs 20:9. Yet that is the fear, not of slaves, but of sons; 'nor hath it torment,' 1 John 4:18, for it hath 'strong consolation through hope' Hebrews 6:18; Romans 5:2. When then he says, 'Woe unto you that desire the Day of the Lord,' he rebuketh their boldness, 'who trust in themselves, that they are righteous' Luke 18:9." "At one and the same time," says Jerome, "the confidence of the proud is shaken off, who, in order to appear righteous before people, are accustomed to long for the Day of Judgment and to say, 'Would that the Lord would come, would that we might be dissolved and be with Christ,' imitating the Pharisee, who spake in the Gospel, "God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are" Luke 18:11-12.
For the very fact, that they "desire," and do not fear, "the Day of the Lord," shows, that they are worthy of punishment, since no man is without sin 2 Chronicles 6:36, and the "stars are not pure in His sight" Job 25:5. And He "concluded all under sin, that he might have mercy upon all" Galatians 3:22; Romans 11:32. Since, then, no one can judge concerning the Judgment of God, and we are to "give account of every idle word" Matthew 12:36, and Job "offered sacrifices" Job 1:5 daily for his sons, lest they should have thought something perversely against the Lord, what rashness it is, to long to reign alone! 1 Corinthians 4:8. In troubles and distresses we are accustomed to say, 'would that we might depart out of the body and be freed from the miseries of this world,' not knowing that, while we are in this flesh, we have place for repentance; but if we depart, we shall hear that of the prophet, "in hell who will give Thee thanks?" Psalm 6:5. That is "the sorrow of this world" 2 Corinthians 7:10, which worketh "death," wherewith the Apostle would not have him sorrow who had sinned with his father's wife; the sorrow whereby the wretched Judas too perished, who, "swallowed up with overmuch sorrow" 2 Corinthians 2:7, joined murder Matthew 27:3-5 to his betrayal, a murder the worst of murders, so that where he thought to find a remedy, and that death by hanging was the end of ills, there he found the lion and the bear, and the serpent, under which names I think that different punishments are intended, or else the devil himself, who is rightly called a lion or bear or serpent."
on Amos 5 :18
5:18 That desire - Scoffingly, not believing any such day would come. To what end - What do you think to get by it? Is darkness - All adversity, black and doleful. Not light - No joy, or comfort an it.