Read Amos 6:1-10
It’s election campaign season. And what are the two most important issues in the mind of most voters? The economy, and security. We want the prosperity of the “American dream” to be accessible, and we don’t want to have to worry about any threats to that good life from the outside.
I grew up thinking that the U.S. is far away the best country in the world. Why? Because the U.S. has experienced unparalleled success in both its economy and its military. For the most
part, we feel like we can advance ourselves if we choose to, and that our borders are safe. Members of the upper class, with their aristocratic networks and endowments, feel particularly confident.
The Israelites of Amos’ day felt the same. But God wants them to watch out. “Alas for those who are at ease in Zion, and for those who feel secure on Mount Samaria, the notables of the first of the nations.” (6:1). The “first of nations”? God calls this into question: “Cross over to Calneh…to Hamath…to Gath…Are you better than these kingdoms?” And, in case they think their riches will save them, God points out that their expensive furnishings, lavish diets, extensive wine cellars, fancy cosmetics, and hip music scene are all at risk because of one thing…
They’re not grieved over their internal decay. They are unaware of the heart and standards of God, and how disappointing their lifestyles are to Him.They don’t even see their actions for what they are.
But the LORD does. God abhors their pride, and hates the all the military strength that the people are putting their hope in. “I will deliver up the city and all that is in it” (v.8).
During Advent, we should be grieved over our sin, and do something about it. Perhaps it’s an addiction to worldly stuff. Maybe it’s an overconfidence in anything besides God Himself. Whatever our sin is, God wants us to be aware of it, feel godly sorrow about it, and repent of it. That would be an appropriate preparation for His coming. Instead, I fear that too many of us treat the holidays as a time to throw conviction to the wind. We indulge ourselves, knowing that the new year is right around the corner. We can wait until then to make some resolutions to live better (though we know that seldom bears any fruit).
Lord, heal us of that which truly ruins us. Forgive us for our addiction to material things, and our over-confidence in our national security. You hate those things. By Your Spirit, help us to hate them, too. Let us be found being humble, generous and full of faith when You return. Amen.