Summary: God cries out in grief over the death of Israel because of their complacency.
As you turn to Amos 6 tonight, I want to tell you about the first word of our text. That word is Woe. Everybody experiences grief in different ways. Some people keep it inside. Some people cry. But there are some people who really break down. We’ve all seen pictures of the professional mourners in the middle east. How they wail and scream and cry. Well, that’s what this word WOE means. It is a wailing cry of anguish and grief over the loss of a loved one. It’s a funeral cry. And that’s what God is doing over His people, Israel. As we read, notice God’s cry of grief over the coming death of Israel.
My wife and I love to go out to eat. A couple of weeks ago, we sat down and tried to figure out all the things we wanted to do while we were on vacation. After a few minutes of working on our list, I think all we had on it was different places we wanted to eat. We’ve kind of gotten away from it, but I used to really like going to buffets. Sometimes we’ll still go to Ryan’s or CiCi’s, but we do better to avoid them. See, I have a bad habit of thinking I need to get my money’s worth. The thing about buffets is you can get only the things that you like. You don’t have to worry with getting salads and fruits and vegetables. You can get pizza and steak and fried chicken. You can even drown them all in gravy if you like. We went to one buffet a few years ago called Fantail. Fantail deep-fried everything. Fish, shrimp, oysters, okra. They even deep-fried pickles. You’d leave that place looking for nothing but Rolaids and a pillow. Most buffets lay out quite a spread. When you look at the last verse of our passage tonight, God pictures Israel as being lazily stretched out at a banquet. They’re complacent and lazy because they’ve gorged themselves at an all-you-can-eat buffet. They were at ease. They were comfortable. They were lazy. Their bellies were full and they were content. But like so often happens at the all-you-can-eat buffet, they had filled up on junk. Tonight, I want us to be aware of the junk food that causes complacency. I want us to wake up and push away from the banquet table of the complacent before God does it for us. In order to do that, we’re going to look at five plates on the banquet table of the complacent. The first plate is the plate of power. Look with me at verses 1-2:
Remember where we are in the history of Israel. Since the days of Solomon, they had never been more powerful. Their military was the strongest it had been for as long as the people could remember. They had peace through their strength. Their capital city was Samaria. The reason God talks about the mountain of Samaria is because that’s where it was located. It was located high on a hill with steep sides. It was also protected by almost impenetrable walls. The only way for an enemy to attack Samaria was by way of a long, winding road. That road made it up one side of the mountain and entered the city. But only after passing through a series of fortifications along the way. Samaria was a very strong city. The people thought it was impenetrable. As they sat down at the buffet, the plate of power made them safe. It made them secure. It made them complacent. In verse 2, God reminds them of other equally secure places they knew of that had been overthrown in recent years. Calneh, Hamath, and Gath were at one time equally powerful cities that had been destroyed. Why did Israel think they were any better? We like our power in this country, don’t we? We take great pride in the strength of our military. Since the end of the Cold War, we say that we’re the only superpower left in the world. We look at our aircraft carriers and our smart bombs and F-22s and stretch ourselves before the banquet plate of power. We’re comfortable. We’re at ease. But have you noticed something? We haven’t really completely won a war since World War 2. Without question, America is the most powerful nation in the world. So was Rome. So was Greece. So was Medo-Persia. So was Assyria. So was Babylon. Could God be asking us, “What makes you any better than those kingdoms, or their border greater than your border?” The first plate on the buffet table of the comfortable is the plate of power. The second plate is the plate of progress. Look with me in verse 3.