Summary: A different look at Amos’ exhortation and judgment given in Amos 6.
Woe to you who are complacent in Nashville,
And to you who feel secure in your fine homes,
You notable men whom conservative Christians look,
Think about History,
Read the prophecies of Amos to Israel, are you better than them?
You wage a war on terror by bringing terror on others,
You lie on your beds and sit on your recliners.
Every night you search for the next best restaurant to eat at,
While passing homeless people on the side of the road.
You trust the money in your wallet and the smart twenty first century technology more than you trust God.
You do not help those who need help, while you live the American dream.
Therefore, don’t be surprised when you are stripped of your luxuries and you seek what you don’t have from God.
The message of a prophet is not one that is easily heard. I know how I would feel if this message was delivered to me. I know how Israel must have felt when Amos delivered a similar message to them in Amos 6.
Amos’ message to the people was a difficult message for the people to understand due to their extremely wonderful prosperity. Amos was from Judah, but found himself in Northern Israel to talk to them about their choices and consequences. Israel was characterized by a golden age of prosperity. They were at peace with other nations and their wealth increased beyond anytime before. Ivory was one representation of their wealth. Ivory was reserved for the richest and finest of people. They ate until their hearts were content and drank until they were drunk from bowls. They were rich, the wealthy were wealthy.
It’s legitimate to ask that if God were upset with them, why were they so blessed? God must be ok with the things they were doing because of their prosperity and blessing. Then Amos shows up, he paints a picture around Israel geographically. He calls people from Damascus, and Moab among others to judgment. Israel would have been pleased with this. “We hate them anyways, they deserve judgment.” Then Amos strikes them where they are and tells Israel that they face judgment. Their prosperity has turned to greed. Their wealth has turned into punishment on the poor. Their political stability has taken them away from God. Amos 6 falls in this context. They felt secure, they felt blessed, yet they were complacent in their relationship to Yahweh. They spent their time in luxury and wealth. They had time to waste on meaningless music, but obviously no time for Yahweh. They used ointment that was reserved for times of joy and thanksgiving and gladness even though their relationship with the Lord was in ruins.
They were rich economically but poor spiritually.
So Amos gave them the news to serve as both warning and explanation that these powerful and wealthy people would be among the first to be forced out of their plush homes and flashy outfits and prosperity to cracked lips and shaggy hair and poverty in exile. This is what happens when the world dictates wealth. Israel was so prosperous and had such a future. But their future lacked one thing, Yahweh. And so, they faced judgment.
Judgment….its not something we like to talk about. Maybe its our postmodern context, maybe it is us swinging in the opposite direction from what we don’t like. But, the fact remains that we don’t like these messages. We don’t like to feel guilty. We don’t like to feel shame. And we definitely don’t like to think that we are doing wrong in God’s eyes, At the beginning, I struggled and struggled with this message, and my own personal response to what God was trying to say.
I don’t claim to have the answers, but God does speak.
We….are….so wealthy. This nation is all about wealth. Some of the most foundational principles this nation is built on is peace and prosperity and living the American dream. This nation has skewed views on war. While we have been engaged in a war on terror, we have never experienced a full fledged war on our own land since 1865. Yet we easily send war and terror on other lands and other people. We live in one of the most prosperous times in human history. And in this nation, in this city we are wealthier than the majority the entire population on Earth.
I feel God blessed me with a job, and my salary, according to global rich list makes me richer than 5,722,608,695 people. I am in the top 6 percent of wealth in the world. And if you make 35,000 dollars a year, your in that percent as well.
The technology of this nation surpasses any previous culture or era in history. We can send e-mail to the other side of the world in seconds. We can watch entire episodes of our favorite television shows on our I-pods. We have great imaginations on how to spend our money like on age defying lotions, tools that we never use, and top of the line food for our dogs.