October 29, 2021
“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion and to those who feel secure on the hill of Samaria – the notable people in this first of the nations, those the house of Israel comes to.”
“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion and to those who feel secure on the hill of Samaria – the notable people in this first of the nations, those the house of Israel comes to. Cross over to Calneh and see; go from there to great Hamath; then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Is their territory larger than yours? You dismiss any thought of the evil day and bring in a reign of violence.” Amos 6:1-3
The whole nation of Israel (not just the ten northern tribes) had provoked the Lord. So, today’s chapter concludes with a stirring word to those living at ease in Zion, as well as those who trusted in the idol worship on the mountain of Samaria.
Down in the southern kingdom, the danger facing their brothers in the northern kingdom seemed far off. The Judeans in Jerusalem took comfort in the fact that Samaria could withstand a siege long enough to give the Judeans plenty of opportunities to prepare if the enemies drew near. Therefore, Judah took it easy, unconcerned about obeying the voice of God, calling them to repentance. Neither did Judah waste any time feeling sorry for their brothers getting pummeled in the North. Surely, Israel in the North was judged for their blatant idolatry, so Judah self-righteously abstained from the fight.
“At ease in Zion” should, perhaps, be a synonym we adopt to describe that unexercised, lazy condition in which so many professing “Christians” find themselves in our generation. How easy is it for us to disregard God’s Word concerning the times we are living in? But if God’s people are indifferent to what is important to Him, how could we be surprised when He refuses to act for us when greater difficulties and afflictions arise?
God points to Philistine cities, once splendid and magnificent, now destroyed. What better was Israel than these kingdoms? In that sense, when it comes to idolatry, is the United States any more righteous than Haiti or India? No, we do not openly profess voodoo. Our idols are far more sophisticated, yet idols, nonetheless.
Violence and corruption were rampant within their borders, but Israel still considered the “evil day” of God’s judgment to be far off. They stretched out on ivory beds, feasted without fear, chanted their improvised worship songs performed on instruments of their own imagination, drank wine, and delighted in costly ointments while God indicted them, saying, “…but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph”. In short: You’re just out for yourselves, and you have lost all sense of “family.”
In our narcissistic, “me-centric” culture, Satan’s great triumph has been the breakdown of the family. We have lost what it means to be a vital part of a community, so we seek to please ourselves simply because we do not trust anyone who seeks pleasure for us. One of the worst conditions on earth is the independent soul. We are created to be wholly dependent upon God and interdependent within the community of believers. So, when you see a brother or sister in need, lend a hand in the name of Jesus, whose hands bear the scars of His giving.