National Wake-Up Call

Amos 6:1-14

Anxiety and related disorders the #1 (most commonly diagnosed/treated) mental health issue in US today. So widespread, 1 in 6 Americans diagnosed with it, 83 different medications prescribed for it. In 2012, 50 million prescriptions for Xanax filled. Yet not a new “problem” – new is how people try to deal. Amos’ contemporaries seem determined not to deal with insecurity / anxiety.

“Security results in the removal of feelings of anxiety, doubt, and fear. When one is secure, there is no danger, apprehensive feelings, or threat that will ruin the pleasant life one now enjoys. Security relates to being sure of your situation and certain about the future.” NIVAC

Things Amos addresses here in final sermon really their list of non-prescription “medications” for anxiety – indifference, indulgence, impudence that together generated sense of security. Alleviated their anxiety, albeit with no real substance/foundation.

These woes directed at both Israel and Judah – capitol cities of both addressed. Totally ignoring everything that mattered, focused only on satisfying self regardless of cost or consequences; living for the moment and nothing more. Impatient that anyone would challenge behavior/priorities. Based on their subsequent history, didn’t pay much attention to Amos… unfortunately. Amos does his part to point out “the distinction to be made between the security which destroys the soul, and that which is the result of God’s blessing, and one of the things which accompany salvation.” Ryan

A. indifference v.1-2

“at ease” – insensible of surrounding danger, impending calamity

what is most notable: not what is included in description, rather what is left out – reference to any kind of spiritual activity or interest – all about life “under the sun”

made more serious by virtue of their position: ones “house of Israel” looked to for leadership and example – active promotion of behavior/attitude both sinful and destructive

Amos’ challenge appropriate at any time, under any circumstances: “what are you trusting in for security?” -is dangerous to figure that out in middle of danger

resting in false confidence – trusting in position geographically, politically, socially, economically

both Samaria and Jerusalem easily defended location – minimal danger to those inside so long as supplies held out

had made alliances with powerful neighbors, in a position of strength politically, able to negotiate with lesser nations

privilege comes with position, even in democratic republic like ours – insulated from gritty side of life, hardships that accompany

possessed sufficient wealth believed they would never run out, would never need to go without; able to gratify all desires

complacency fueled by comparisons… with pagan neighbors

felt secure enough to look down on less fortunate neighbors – compared themselves to Calneh (in Syria, thought to be near Aleppo), Hamath on northern border of Israel, Gath royal city of Philistia

Amos challenges that thinking – are their conclusions accurate? are they using right parameters for measurement?

safe to say Amos confident God had a different opinion about Jerusalem and Samaria… and they ought to rethink theirs

in reality, displaying contempt for God and his wisdom, his standard – can figure it out on own, decide if acceptable

B. indulgence v.3-7

“put far off the day of doom” – really in denial

“not gonna happen in my lifetime”, iow, “not my worry” – if really true, can live like will never happen

“The thought that the Lord has a Day, in which to judge man, frets or frightens the irreligious, and they use different ways to get rid of it. The strong harden themselves against it, distort the belief in it, or disbelieve it. The weak and voluptuous shut their eyes to it, as if what they dread would cease to be there, because they cease to see it.” Edw. Pusey

this won’t happen to us… at least when it does we’ll be last to go

confident they had sufficient resources to last – would continue to indulge passions w/o restraint or thought for what comes next

totally dissipated lifestyle – lying about, feasting on delicacies w/no regard for cost, glasses too small/drink from the bowl

picture of utter excess and overindulgence beyond reason in effort to find satisfaction… and failing – in process deluding themselves about themselves

like the person who can’t carry a tune when sober getting drunk and singing karaoke – inebriated friends applaud, sober ones plug ears

melds together two images: farmer needing bigger barns (see Luke 12:19), rich man and Lazarus (see Luke 16:19)

“And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.””

“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day”

both situations: satisfying self the #1 occupation with no regard for consequences or effect on others

in case of Amos’ audience – made more evil because they are ones supposed to be setting example for everyone else

guilty of their own sin and also leading others into sin – applies to all sorts of misbehavior in wide variety of settings

in reality, displaying contempt for God and his warnings – he’s not serious, won’t affect me; hence prophetic warning: you who think you will be last will instead be first of the captives, God will ensure that

C. impudence v.8, 12-13

“the pride of Jacob” (8)

a strong oath and strong words – “sworn by himself”, declaring he “loathes the pride of Jacob”, “hates his palaces”

in their arrogance, Israel and Judah built own rock fortresses, trusted in them, abandoned the true Rock and his security

no longer need to trust in God for protection and provision, no need to ask for his help and deliverance – do it on their own

turned justice into gall” (12b)

if their view of relationship with God turned on its head, naturally follows other parts of life perverted and upside down, too

would be first to whine if were the objects of injustice, rejoice when justice being done benefitted them; yet are right out in front perpetrating injustice toward God and others

seems those who needed justice were in hopeless situation – nowhere to be found, to seek for it would only make life bitter

“fruit of righteousness into wormwood” (12b)

person genuinely displaying fruit of righteousness strives to build others up, make setting and circumstances better in some way

because of impudent arrogance toward God, Amos’ hearers behaved in ways that were inherently destructive of self and others

“By our own strength” (13)

really pushing boundaries of God’s tolerance here – taking to themselves credit for what belongs only to God

boasting about victory over Lo Debar (name means “no thing”), taking Karnaim (strength) by their own strength

put confidence in military capability and victories when in God’s view was completely empty boast – would shortly be proven so

“do horses run” – you’re acting like idiots! those you despise know better than that (12a)

in typical forthright way Amos shows audience just how ridiculous their boasting really was… and how foolish to boast in those kinds of things

those who try to take what rightly belongs to God, then boast about it will surely come to hard end… exactly what Amos warns

D. judgment v.9-14

death (9-10)

population of Israel and Judah decimated by God’s judgment – perhaps combination of military action (14) and pestilence

so many casualties were not enough immediate family to bury all the bodies – would be someone from another household… with a helper (undertaker, funeral director)

notice the survivors don’t want to talk about possibility this devastation from God, perhaps fear further retribution

destruction (11)

none will escape judgment – big house, little house – leaders responsible for leading wrongly, followers responsible for own behavior

piece by piece God dismantles everything they trusted in that was not God – all of their idols, objects of confidence and worship

defeat (14)

God would make clean sweep from one end of nation to the other – yes, he deals with individuals, also with nations

would raise up a pagan nation of his choosing to accomplish his purpose – Assyria in the north, Babylonia in the south

God can and does use heathen peoples and nations to carry out his plan just as easily as his own people

E. Watch for:

trusting in the wrong things

looking at the wrong standard

becoming indifferent – to need (Tammy S, “you must have blinders on”), to God’s provision / protection

captivated by unreality (entertainment), no sense of urgency, willfully blind to surroundings (Belshazzar) – see Gen. 42:21

Then they (Joseph’s brothers) said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.”

overestimation of self’s importance and ability

Goal for believer: Jer. 9:23–24Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”


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