Woe unto those at ease in Zion!
Amos 6:1 ¶ Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!
2 Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border?
3 Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near;
4 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;
5 That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;
6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
7 Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.
8 ¶ The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein.
9 And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die.
In this passage, we see something brutal occur. The people of God, had become wealthy, prosperous, well fed, lazy, attending wonderful dinner parties, drinking bowls of wine, anointing themselves with wonderful ointments, (sounds like skin care, and the vitamin and supplement industry to me) yet had become unconcerned about the others, who named the name of God, who were suffering, ‘they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.’
And so, God Himself delivered them up to enemies….
I am a prosperity preacher. God makes men wealthy, of this I am convinced.
De 8:17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
De 8:18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
Yet, there is another side to the message, one that I rarely hear preached. That with wealth, comes responsibility, and as I read today, I think about the heart of this people…so far from God, that He allowed them to be attacked, killed, or taken captive. Why?
Simple, because in their prosperity, they did not work to continue to deliver the captives, the people under the covenant, the tribe of Joseph…
They died for it…
What does that have to do with today you might ask?
Perhaps my vision is skewed. For the past 8 years, I have owned and operated a carpentry company supplying custom woodwork, into wealthy homes. For much of this time, I had a lot of fun. Made some money, and got to design or build some really neat projects, and met some wealthy people…
In several cases, these wealthy people were living for Jesus, and these are worth mentioning here: Rick Fenimore and his partner Terry, Mark Loeber, Rob Prulhiere are hard working, sacrificially giving integrous businessmen, determined to do right, and giving huge portions of their income to the works of God in the earth.
These folks are the exception, so I have mentioned them here, because I see their walk with the Lord, and have done business with them, and have seen the way they live in their homes. They are seeking first the kingdom of God, and His will for their lives…
Yet, what about the rest of the thousand people I did business with, in often million or multi-million dollar estates?
Some of these claimed to be Christian, yet I honestly saw no fruit of it in their homes. We built wonderful game rooms, media rooms, back yard pool decks and gazebos, for relaxing and entertaining guests, but never did I see an open Bible, or a walk with Jesus apparent in their lives. Often we saw open alcoholism or drug usage, or brutal immorality…
The general consensus was similar, “God blessed me with gifts and abilities, and I worked hard, or made good investments, and now I am wealthy. Gotta go, I have guests coming over for dinner…’
Some attend quiet, denominational churches, and attend charitable fundraisers and support good causes, yet apart from the few I mentioned above, I see no evidence in their lives of either a walk, personally with God, or interest in the gospel, either nationally or internationally.
Does God want us wealthy?
Emphatically, YES! There are hundreds of Scriptures promising financial prosperity to people who serve God.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, David, Solomon were incredibly wealthy by any days standard, and they served God in their prosperity.
Having beautiful homes, great food, dinner parties, cool media rooms, lavish pool and landscapes are not sin, it is always the motive of the heart…
If the dinner parties centered around evangelism, outreach, Bible studies, and helping missions, God will bless, prosper, and there is no end to the peace, security, and joy that a family can find in serving Jesus!
If the same Media room is stocked with Christian movies, and teaching DVD’s to keep one continually filled and fed with the Spirit and Word of God, then there is no end to how beautiful and complex God can make an entertainment center, for His glory.
If the purpose of diet, health, fitness, is to provide strength to serve the poor and those less fortunate in our midst, then our body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, should remain strong, healthy, like a well oiled machine, ready for instant use. Even as a soldier keeps himself fit, not just because he is under orders, to pass a PT fitness test, but because there are battles to be fought, others in his company that depend upon him or her, and most importantly, because there is an enemy that is training to destroy us, and he is doing his push-ups and going for a run this morning….
God is a defense, and He loves us. He will protect us, and prosper us, not to fulfill our own lusts, and mere worldly desires, rather, that eternity can be written on the tablets of people’s hearts…That the gospel might go to the uttermost parts of the earth…intentionally, with purpose, power, provision, and great demonstration of His love and grace…
Prosper, but use it or lose it.
Use it for the gospel, and continue to grow in strength: spiritually, mentally, physically, in love and in deed, or like those at ease in Zion back in Amos day, you will lose it….
You may lose much more than your wealth….
To whom much is given, much is required.
For generations, America has lived this. Financially, this country has probably done more for the gospel and missions than any other nation in the history of humanity. God has blessed this nation financially, and there has been prosperity that has come to this land, simply by living here, for in this, Jesus has been well pleased. Around the world, nations have watched our rise, and millions have immigrated here, to find a better way of life, with freedom, liberty and justice for all….
Yet, instead of recognizing that God has done this, people would say that they have done it themselves, ‘by the sweat of their own brow’.
Yet, as I have often said, that “education of the mind, without first moral instruction to the heart, simply produces an intelligent criminal.”
People seeking first God, through His word, will value righteousness, truth, justice, freedom, and honor, even above their own lives.
Those that do not become liars, treacherous to the core, even in their own families!
Let’s read on…
Amos 6:10 And a man’s uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is by the sides of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD.
In this verse, a man’s uncle has him killed, quietly…Treachery!
Don’t speak about God here, don’t even mention the name of the Lord…
As if God was deaf, blind, and cannot see what they have done?
11 For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.
12 Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:
13 Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength?
‘Horns by our own strength’ speaks to me about authority, position, influence. People that think and say: ‘Sure I got what I got, but I worked for it, it’s mine!’ not realizing that only in this climate of God’s blessing were they able to obtain their place, and yet they still in their pride and blindness will not see God, and His blessing that promoted them.
14 But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.
And so armies march against us…
Some, like fools, begin to purchase weapons, security systems, cameras, dogs, trying to protect themselves….
Ps 127:1 « A Song of degrees for Solomon. » Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
Do you think that 9/11 was an accident in the eyes of God? That somehow Muslims managed to slip one by our security systems?
How about the Boston bombings? The shooter at Ft. Hood? The shooter at the Washington shipyards?
Do you think our military failed to protect us in these occurrences?
Know this: There is no protection, prosperity, apart from Jesus…
Ps 61:3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
Pr 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
I grew up in a military home. My father served 32 years in the navy. I have some knowledge of military thinking and discipline, though I have never served.
From a military perspective, I see things in America right now, perhaps somewhat differently, than many.
I see Islam, intent, as Hitler was, determined to take over the world, and implement Sharia law, and horrendous oppression and bloodshed in their religion of death.
Back in the days of the schoolyard, I call this bullies logic. A bully will remain a bully, until you hurt him, and put him in his place. They may not like you when you blacken their eye or bloody their nose, but generally, pain is about the only message they understand. They do not listen to pleas for sympathy, but only respect strength…
I see Islam deliberately testing the strength of America, right now.
They danced in the streets when the twin towers fell.
A message was sent, when our ambassador was killed at Bengazi, of weakness…
There were no repercussions to the attack at Ft. Hood, or the Boston bombings, but let’s negotiate with the Muslim brotherhood, sending a drone to Iran, aid and arms to Egypt…
Appeasement equals weakness, for it is only the righteous that are as bold as lion.
I like the famous Winston Churchill quote: “Appeasement is like feeding a crocodile, hoping that it will eat you last!”
Job 31:24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;
25 If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;
26 If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness;
27 And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand:
28 This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.
Our confidence cannot be in our military might, or money, or position, or influence, or family, or these days, even our government, but must be in the Lord, alone.
Pr 3:26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
Pr 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
Are people so blind as to not see this?
‘In God we trust’ is inscribed on our coins, but is it still written on the hearts of the American people?
Will people return to the ancient of days, the rich heritage of faith, honor, integrity and truth in walking with God, or will we try to bail ourselves out of this chaotic mess this nation is in?
Like a lion prowls about the camp at night, looking for prey, there are enemies at the gate, and no amount of security, weaponry, dogs, or camera’s can keep them out, if the Lord should lift His hand of protection and blessing from us.
And so, it comes down to you, and me, and Jesus. I know where I’m at with Him, seeking Him first, each day, endeavoring to understand His Word, to hear His voice, to do right. How about you?
Has personal time with Him, and daily Bible reading, hit your daily planner yet?
Is prayer, and personal time with Jesus on your ‘To Do’ list?
Are you using your position, influence, wealth, education, resources to establish, build, increase, and promote His kingdom, today?
Are we hearing the cries of Christians being slaughtered in Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and around the world, or do we surf on by those news reports?
What about the plight of the American Indian? Have we taken time to understand this dark chapter in US History, and endeavored to learn, and make historical wrongs, right?
What about the plight of the illegal immigrant? Sure it ticks us off that untold millions cross our border illegally in search of a better life, but have we actually asked God what He thinks about it? What His solution to this problem is?
Islam is knocking on our door. Do we really understand their agenda, or are they simply ‘just another religion’ to us?
Do we understand abortion from God’s perspective? Not our own, or some teachers interpretation, but what does the Bible say about it?
How about homosexuality, pornography, sexual immorality? Think God might have an opinion about these issues, or do we simply adopt a ‘live and let live’ ideology, ‘Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be, will be…?
There are moral absolutes!
There is right and wrong.
Lying, cheating, stealing, treachery, betrayals of trust, murder, and immorality, are wrong, not because I say so, but because God says so.
This is the truth upon which we must build our lives, that there are moral absolutes, and that Jesus is Lord, and that one day, we will all die, and give an account before a holy God, as to how we lived, in this life.
Pro_1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge:
Pro_14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
Pro_9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
This is why Jesus died. This is the cross. This is the only thing in eternity that can atone for, or remove the punishment of sin. God has no plan B, there is no other way to heaven, and there is no other gospel.
Pr 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
Righteousness, means, in this sense, simply doing right.
We either return to God, as a nation, or clearly, there are enemies at the gate…..
‘Father, we come before you today, for the United States of America. Thank you for your blessing, Your grace, Your mercy, and Your prosperity upon this land. May each of us, individually, come to You, today, and seek You first, and do Your will, today. Lord Jesus, forgive me for going my own way, doing my own things. I ask You to come into my heart, my life, my family, and lead us great Shepherd into Your perfect plan and will for our lives, in Your precious name I pray, Amen’