Amos 6:4-7   You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches.  You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves.  You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments.  You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.  Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.

Ood Testament prophets like Amos were given the task of bringing the LORD’s words of strong rebuke against those entrusted with leadership responsibilities among God’s Covenant People but who had become complacent in their role.  This chapter begins with the words: “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!” (6:1).

We are reminded of the emotion-filled words of the Ultimate Prophet to the leaders of his day: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! …” (Matthew 23:13, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29, etc) – leaders who had become complacent in their belonging to God’s chosen people as descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Jesus’ final cutting point was that while they were acknowledging the message of Amos and his fellow-prophets, they were failing to conform their lives to it – hence the label “hypocrites”.

All this ought to be a salutary warning to us to be careful not to gloss over the words of the prophets, but to examine carefully our own lives with regard to the responsibilities God has entrusted to us.  It is right and proper to feel safe and secure in his Covenant of Grace, depending on his mercy alone, provided we keep in mind two warnings from the apostle Paul:

(1) “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.  They were all baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.  Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.  Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did” (1 Corinthians 10:1-6); and

(2) “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Are we taking God’s Word  seriously, allowing it to reshape our lives effectively each day?
– Bruce Christian