Amos 6:1-6 (ESV)

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion,

and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria,

the notable men of the first of the nations,

to whom the house of Israel comes!

[2] Pass over to Calneh, and see,

and from there go to Hamath the great;

then go down to Gath of the Philistines.

Are you better than these kingdoms?

Or is their territory greater than your territory,

[3] O you who put far away the day of disaster

and bring near the seat of violence?

[4] “Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory

and stretch themselves out on their couches,

and eat lambs from the flock

and calves from the midst of the stall,

[5] who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp

and like David invent for themselves instruments of music,

[6] who drink wine in bowls

and anoint themselves with the finest oils,

but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!

Comfort is the enemy of righteousness. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. While Israel is being punished for its sins, Judah enjoys its luxury and peace and gives no thought to its own ways. They seem to believe that because what happened to Israel did not happen to them then they are safe indefinitely. It never occurs to them that because they commit the same sins as those who are being punished that they are going to suffer as well.

Presumption. From a personal to a community to a national level, it is so easy to regard our ease as the default position that cannot be disturbed. Such thinking is foolish. God is no respecter of persons. The greed, immorality, materialism, idolatry that marks our culture and far too often our churches, cannot escape the judgement of God. It is time now to awake from our slumber and know that we are going to reap what we sow. The work of Jesus Christ in His life death and resurrection does all that needs to be done to take away all the judgement of God for all our sin. We are saved by grace.

But it is the absence of grace that can live believing that sin will be ignored by God in us while it is dealt with severely in others. The lifestyle we live as believers in this part of the world while many Christians, and non-Christians, suffer in other parts is surely a mercy from God. But it is not due to our spirituality. And if we bask in our North American comforts and never consider that the reason we have so much is so that we can alleviate the suffering of others (both in our own neighbourhoods and abroad), we are committing grave sin. Perhaps it is a matter of being unregenerate. The judgement that came upon Judah was severe. We have no reason to believe that God will treat us less severely than He did them. We need to wake up.

Then there is the whole matter of not grieving over what has happened to their brothers in the north. They are not grieved over the sin of Joseph. They can live lives of ease while faced with the horrible sufferings of their kin. Their selfishness is not just a matter of thinking that they will not suffer like others have. What God is more concerned about is that the sin that brought Israel under God’s judgement does not break the hearts of those in the south. Sin should break the hearts of those who are redeemed. Absence of grief over sin is an indication of very serious spiritual sickness and may be an indication that there is no saving faith present. Believers are those who rejoice in God and have their hearts broken over what breaks His.

To not grieve over sin is to have no heart for God. The sin that should have broken the people of Judah’s hearts was affluence accompanied by heartlessness.Judah’s real problem is that they do not know God. And if we are not grieved for the glory of God over the sin and suffering all around us we don’t know Him either.