Summary: Spiritual laziness.
Woe to Them Who are at Ease in Zion
Amos 6:1 Woe [grievous distress, affliction, or trouble] to them that are at ease[no concern no labor unaffected apathy no love ] in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!
This "woe" was addressed to both Judah ("Zion") and Israel ("Samaria") because both kingdoms were indifferent toward God’s Word and the judgment that hung over them. They called themselves "the foremost nation" and enjoyed an unwarranted false confidence for several reasons.
The first cause of their complacency was their geography. Situated on Mount Zion. Jerusalem was considered impregnable (Ps 78:68-69; 132:13-18); and Samaria also had a seemingly secure position. But when God decided to deal with these cities, nothing could stop the enemy.
The notable men in Israel’s government gave their opinion that the nation was safe and secure, and the people believed them, just as people today believe the political "experts" and the polls. False confidence that’s based on expert advice, statistics, and material resources and that ignores the spiritual dimension of life is sure to lead to defeat.
Amos mentioned bigger areas in Syria and Philistia that had already fallen to the Assyrian army and then asked two questions: "Are you better than they? Is your territory bigger than theirs?" If the enemy had already destroyed places bigger and stronger than Samaria and Israel, what hope was there for the Jewish people, especially when the Jews were living like the Gentiles and were disobeying the Lord? God doesn’t look at the talent of national leaders, the extent of a nation’s army, or the prosperity of its economy. God looks at the heart, and the heart of the two Jewish kingdoms was far from the Lord.
Complacency is an insidious sin, because it’s based on lies, motivated by pride, and leads to trusting something other than God.
Zeph 1:12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.
The analogy of wine left on its dregs suggests that the nation had become spiritually polluted. Wine allowed to ferment for a long time forms a hard crust and the liquid becomes syrupy, bitter, and unpalatable. Instead of removing the dregs of daily pollution, Judah had become hardened and indifferent to God. So great was her degeneration that the people did not even believe that God did as much as their self-made images.
Like the people in the church of Laodicea, complacent people consider themselves "rich, and increased with goods" and in need of nothing (Rev 3:17). In reality, however, they have lost everything that’s important in the spiritual life. When the Lord sees His people becoming complacent and self-satisfied, He sometimes sends trials to wake them up.
"It can’t happen here!" was the motto of the complacent leaders. "If a day of judgment is coming, it’s surely a long way off." Whenever anybody mentioned the possibility of national disaster, the leaders laughed at the idea and disregarded it. But God had a different viewpoint. He said, "All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, who say, ’The calamity shall not overtake us nor confront us’" (9:10 NKJV). Yet by their very indifference, they were bringing the day of judgment that much nearer.