TOSSED AND STAGGERING. The ancient method of separating grain from its encasing chaff involved shaking and sifting it in a sieve. As the grain kernels were tossed upward, the wind would blow the chaff away, and the kernels, which were heavier than chaff, would fall back into the sieve. The sieve also would be shaken repeatedly and the grains sifted by hand. Dirt, pebbles, and smaller particles of chaff would fall through the sieve, leaving only the grain.
The phrase I will sift in our memory text literally means "I will toss about," or "I will cause to stagger." Amos is prophesying that God would cause Israel to be scattered among the nations and "there tossed about, as it were, in the 'sieve' of affliction and persecution that it might be determined through this trial who will remain loyal followers of God." - SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 983.
This purifying process finds its spiritual counterpart today in the trials, temptations, and tests of life. As you study this week's lesson, consider how a knowledge of the shaking can draw you closer to Christ, thereby increasing your strength to overcome.