Woe to… a Life of Ease?

Amos 6:1Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria…

Amos 6:3-6 Ye that put far away the evil day… That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David… and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

This morning, it was in the 55° when I came to the office, so I turned the heater up to 74°. This afternoon, it was warm, so I turned my air conditioner down to 74°.  I like my memory foam mattress topper. I have a memory foam pillow. I like having a second vehicle (my second vehicle has been out due to theft/vandalism. I’m struggling- pray for me!). I like the convenience of Costco membership, Walmart up the road, and Amazon Prime. I like comfort. I like convenience. Naturally, I like to be at ease. If you’re honest, you do too.

In the passage above, God sent the preacher Amos to pronounce a “Woe!” on God’s people. A woe was a stark warning about something. If they did not heed this, they would be taken captive, and destroyed (verse 7). But what was their big sin? Was it immorality? Was it idol worship? Was it intermarrying the heathen? None of these are mentioned. The warning was given to God’s people who found themselves living very successful lives in Zion (the homeland). What was the issue? These people had allowed their lives of comfort and ease to detour them from God’s will for their life.

Notice how successful they were! Amos says that they laid on beds of ivory. I’m not sure how that would feel since poaching for ivory has since been banned, but we know that their bedrooms were luxurious. He said that they stretched themselves on their couches. Without a care in the world, they laid on the sofa, and their living rooms were centers for relaxation. They liked to eat the best food! They could grab a lamb from the flock and have some good Chinese hot pot (now we’re speaking my language) or lamb chops (for the more Americanized among us). They could grab a calf from the stall and eat the best of the beef at their pleasure. Even before iPhones and music subscriptions, they liked to sit around listening to music, singing, and inventing new instruments for music. We see that they drank “pleasure drinks” in abundance (in bowls), and used the best cologne and perfume. They lived lives of ease, and fully enjoyed them. It was this ease, however, and its results in their life, that brought God’s warning.

I was convicted recently between the similarities in my own life at times, and warning here. For those of us who live in the prosperous United States of America- if we’re not careful, we can fall into a life of ease, and find ourselves in danger of the same pitfalls God’s people fell into during this time. What did their lives of ease and comfort do to them?

  1. They found their security in what they possessed (vs 1). One danger of becoming successful, comfortable, and at ease, is that we can begin to find our security in what we have, instead of the Lord. The Lord reminded us that a man’s life doesn’t consist in what we possess. If we find our security here, it becomes an end, instead of a means. 
  • They forgot that a judgment day is coming (vs 2). One danger of comfortable living is that we forget that this life of ease is not all there is. There is a judgment seat of Christ. Instead of living for ease, we should live for that day.
  • Pleasure became a pursuit of their life (vs 3). God gives us good things to enjoy. But they can easily become our life’s passion, identity, and pursuit. We should not live for the house, car, phone, outing, high-end meal, luxury, or vacation.
  • They lived in a bubble, unconcerned with those God was concerned about (vs 6). There was affliction going on not too far away that bothered God, but they didn’t care. They too were busy eating, relaxing, enjoying their lives of comfort to do anything about it. 

I’m thankful for God’s blessings. But let’s heed the warning here. Let’s not allow a life of ease to detour us from God’s will for our lives, and the lives of those we influence.

Why did Uzziah Prosper?

2 Chronicles 26:3-5 Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign… And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.

2 Chronicles 26:15 And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong.

When the Bible tells us that God made someone to prosper, I want to know why He did. The simple reason? I want to get in on it! I want a prosperous home. I want a prosperous life. We want a prosperous church. If God gives examples of successful people, and also the ingredients that helped them, I want to know what they were.

In these verses, I see two reasons that King Uzziah became successful. We see why he was helped, and had the wisdom he did to do amazing feats. I believe that that if we follow these same principles, we, too, can be prosperous in our lives.

1. Uzziah had a wise preacher to influence him

The Bible shows us that Uzziah had a preacher named Zechariah, “who had understanding in the visions of God,” as an influencer. We see often in Scripture that the success of the kings were closely aligned with their willingness to hearken, or have access, to a good, wise preacher. Uzziah sought God in the days of this preacher, and the Lord tells us why- because the preacher was in tune with the Lord.

If we want to prosper, we must put ourselves under a preacher who is in tune with the Lord, has wisdom from Him, and shares that with the people. Just because we go to church doesn’t mean we allow the preacher and preaching to influence us toward spiritual prosperity. What he says can go in one ear and out the other. We will find a main ingredient in the road to prosperity is to put ourselves under the preacher, and allow what He gets from God to influence us.

2. Uzziah sough the Lord himself

Uzziah didn’t just piggyback on the preacher’s coattail. He sought the Lord himself as well. Because of this, the Lord helped him to prosper greatly! I’m thankful for our church. I’m thankful for our pastor! But just the preaching and influence isn’t enough. It must translate into a personal, daily walk that we have on our own. Because King Uzziah walked with God, God caused him to prosper.

There came a day in Uzziah’s life, toward the end, where he stopped seeking God himself. He because proud. He stopped allowing the preacher to influence him, whether by choice or by the preacher’s leaving the scene. And because of it, the blessing stopped. The prosperity stopped.

Conclusion: I want to see prosperity in my life, and in the lives of those God has called me to serve. What two lessons must we apply from the life of King Uzziah? First, let’s put ourselves under the wisdom and godly influence the preacher. Secondly, let’s pursue the Lord ourselves, each and every day. If we do these things, we’re on the road to prosperity in God’s economy.