1. (Amos 6:1-2) Comparing Israel to her pagan neighbors.
Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, and trust in Mount Samaria, notable persons in the chief nation, to whom the house of Israel comes! Go over to Calneh and see; and from there go to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is their territory greater than your territory?
a. Woe to you who are at ease in Zion: In her pride and indulgence, all Israel sought was ease. This indulgent lust for comfort and luxury is a sin, and God will judge Israel for it.
i. The idea of rest isn’t all bad. Jesus wants to give us rest (Matthew 11:28-29). There is a rest waiting for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9-11). There is rest for us in heaven (Revelation 4:9-11). Then there is another kind of rest, a sinful kind of rest – connected to indifference, laziness, and indulgence.
ii. Yet the prophet Amos speaks of “a carnal ease, a fleshly security, it is not the confidence of a man who is pardoned, but the ease of a hardened wretch who has learned to despise the gibbet. It is not the assurance of one who is on the rock, but the ease of a senseless drunkard, whose house is tottering from its sandy foundations, and yet he riots at full speed; it is not the calm of soul at peace with God, but the ease of a madman, who, because he has hidden his sin from his own eyes, thinks he has concealed it from God. It is the ease and peace of one who has grown callous, hardened, brutalized, stupid, sullen, and careless, who has begun a sleep which God grant may soon be broken, or else it will surely bring him where he shall make his bed in hell.” (Spurgeon)
iii. How did this sinful ease of God’s people show itself?
· Israel’s sinful ease was shown in presumption, because she trusted in the might of Mount Samaria
· Israel’s sinful ease was shown in procrastination, because she put far off the day of doom
· Israel’s sinful ease was shown in cruelty to men, because she caused the seat of violence to come near
· Israel’s sinful ease was shown in love of self, through all the self-indulgence described in Amos 6:4-6
· Israel’s sinful ease was shown in carelessness, in the willful, drunken ignorance of Amos 6:6
iv. “Self-indulgence! Oh, this is the God of many! They live not for Christ – What do they for him? They live not for his Church – What care they for that? They live for self, and for self only. And mark there are such among the poor as well as among the rich, for all classes have this evil leaven.” (Spurgeon)
v. King David had an ungodly ease when he stayed behind when it was time for kings to go out to war – and he slipped into sin with Bathsheba, eventually murdering her husband to cover up his immorality (2 Samuel 11).
b. Are you better than these kingdoms? God wants to rebuke the pride of Israel by making them compare themselves to some of their pagan neighbors. Perhaps they aren’t so great after all. Perhaps these cities already suffered the judgment of God, and God wanted Israel to know they would be next because they were no better.
© 2001 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission