“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria,. . .” (Amos 6:1)
This oracle of the prophet Amos was addressed to the leaders of Jerusalem as well as Samaria. These folks were very religious and felt proud of it. They thought their religion brought them closer to God because it was what made them holy. The evidence of their favor with God was their prosperity and wealth. They had such a high opinion of themselves that they felt entitled to look down on their fellow countrymen and to exploit and abuse them. These leaders lived sumptuously and lavishly while others had to struggle just to survive one day to the next. The Lord knew of their selfishness and pronounced them to be no better than the pagans. Amos warned them that if those pagan nations were to suffer at the hands of the Assyrians, so would they even though they thought they were protected by God. The leaders of Israel and Judah claimed to know the Lord and serve Him. Because of them, the entire society had adopted values, habits and policies that were self-centered, unjust, cruel and sinful.
The oracle should serve as a warning to we who are Christians to not use our gifts, talents and position to build up our wealth or fame. We often got caught up in the values of our society which are rooted in self-centered hedonism. We ignore the need to show compassion and seek justice for the poor and oppressed because we are too concerned with the antics of celebrities and politicians. We neglect the needs of the impoverished but spend lavish amounts of money on the latest fashions or the hottest electronic gadgets that we are told we need to have. Meanwhile, thousands die every day of starvation and illnesses brought on by malnutrition or contaminated food and water. Will not the Lord hold us accountable for worshipping the idol of materialism at the altar of the American dream while neglecting to show compassion to those on their way to destruction?