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.

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