In our study of Amos chapter six, we look at the condition of the northern kingdom during Amos' day and apply it to our world today. We look at the causes of God's impending judgment on them and what it means for the people of today.
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Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come!
Although Amos went to the rulers of the northern kingdom, he also proclaims woe for Judah & Jerusalem. This was a time of relative power and prosperity in the northern kingdom. The rulers and upper class people felt secure and well protected in their palaces on the hill.
Go to Kalneh and look at it; go from there to great Hamath, and then go down to Gath in Philistia. Are they better off than your two kingdoms? Is their land larger than yours?
Amos tells them to look at the fact that there is no greater power from the north (Kalneh) to the south (Gath). These were all ungodly people that were worse off that them. They should be grateful and be giving God the praise but they were not. It reminds us of the fact that to whom much is given much will be asked.
You put off the day of disaster and bring near a reign of terror.
The rulers knew that what they were doing was wrong and they expected judgment from God but they did not expect it to happen in their lifetime so it was "all good". Doesn't that sound like our world today and even the attitude of many Christians? Most people realize that God will not let things go on like this forever and we know that judgment is coming soon but do we act like we believe it? The leading men of Israel set an example that the common folks followed and that was an example of complacency. As Christians, we are the appointed leaders of this world but are we preparing the other people for what we know is coming soon?
You lie on beds adorned with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves.
Now, Amos gives us more details about what was going on with the high society folks of the northern kingdom. Here, we see the first of three sins which is gluttony. The rich folks were living it up and had forgotten the poor and the fact that all they had was a gift from God. The gluttony even extended into sexual immorality. They basically had the attitude that they earned and deserved this lifestyle even though it was contrary to the ways of God. They did their "religious duties" but did not let God into the rest of their lives. This is similar to what is happening in our world today where many people do their "religious duties" on a Sunday and then its all about them the other six days of the week.
You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments.
The second of the three sins is that they perverted the God given gift of music and it was no longer used to praise and glorify God. Music was initially used for praising God and, in fact, Satan was the leader of worship in heaven. Since his fall, he has been behind the decline in music to where it is today. Although there is some wonderful praise music and songs, the vast majority of music in the world today is about things that do not honor God. The danger in this is that what goes into your mind through your ears has an impact on the way you live.
You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
The final sin that Amos mentions is drunkenness. Although wine is a gift from God and even Jesus turned water into wine, the excessive use of it to get drunk is sinful. That brings up the question of why people get drunk and even become alcoholics. The simple fact of the matter is that people get drunk to forget that they are disobeying God. In the example of Israel, they were living it up and knew it was wrong but they could forget about the coming judgment for awhile by getting drunk. We easily forget that alcohol (when taken in excess) is a mood altering drug but at that point it is no different than any other illegal drug. As we see in Revelation 9 & the last days, people will turn more and more to drugs to try to escape the horrors of disobedience. All that is really needed is to accept Jesus Christ; He is the one step approach to recovery.
Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.
Because of their excesses, the rich would be the first to be judged. This reminds us of the fact that prosperity also brings responsibility. It is also a reminder that we, as Christians, are entrusted with the responsibility to share the most valuable thing that we have which is our testimony of what God has done and is doing in our lives.
The Sovereign Lord has sworn by himself - the Lord God Almighty declares: 'I abhor the pride of Jacob and detest his fortresses; I will deliver up the city and everything in it.'
When God declares something, then, it is done. There is no court of appeals or nothing with the power to overcome the will of God. We see that the root cause of all of the sins and the coming judgment was the pride of the people. They forgot that everything that they had was given to them by God and began to think that they had earned it for themselves. We remember that pride was the original sin that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven. It was what was at work in Israel during the days of Amos and it is what is widespread in our world today.
If ten people are left in one house, they too will die. And if the relative who comes to carry the bodies out of the house to burn them asks anyone who might be hiding there, 'Is anyone else with you?' and he says, 'No,' then he will go on to say, 'Hush! We must not mention the name of the Lord.'
The judgment will be so terrible that, if any survive, they will be afraid to even mention the name of God. The purpose of the judgment is to plant the fear of God into the people's hearts. The purpose of the fear is to bring them to repentance so that they might be saved.
For the Lord has given the command, and he will smash the great house into pieces and the small house into bits.
The judgment will be total; on the poor as well as on the rich as we see by the sizes of houses.
Do horses run on the rocky crags? Does one plow the sea with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness - you who rejoice in the conquest of Lo Debar and say, 'Did we not take Karnaim by our own strength?' For the Lord God Almighty declares, 'I will stir up a nation against you, Israel, that will oppress you all the way from Lebo Hamath to the valley of the Arabah.'
Once again, Amos shares the judgment of God. Lebo Hamath would be northern Lebanon and the valley of the Arabah would be the Dead Sea area. This shows that the judgment will be on all of Israel. It also hints at the fact that Assyria would be the tool used for the coming judgment.