Friday, April 27, 2012

Amos 6 - Are You Living for Pleasure or Glory?

LINK: Amos 6

BACKGROUND

As promised, I wanted to touch on the "day of the LORD" mentioned in Amos 5:18, 20.

The "day of the LORD" is a common phrase used in the Old Testament. When reading the Old Testament in chronological order, it is first used in the book of Joel (2:1, 11, 31; 3:14). You will see it quite a bit as we read the prophets. You might want to underline it in your Bible.

Here is an explanation of this key phrase from the Life Application Bible:
It always refers to some extraordinary happening, whether a present event (like a locust plague), an event in the near future (like the destruction of Jerusalem or defeat of enemy nations) or the final period of history when God will defeat all forces of evil.

Even when the day of the Lord refers to a present event, it also foreshadows the final day of the Lord. This final event of history has two aspects to it: (1) the last judgment on all evil and sin and (2) the final reward for faithful believers. Righteousness and truth will prevail, but not before much suffering (Zechariah 14:1-3). If you trust the Lord, looking toward this final day should give you hope, because then all who are faithful will be united forever with God. (p. 1529)
Amos 6 begins with a "woe." When it was pronounced for the living, "woe" was a "prediction of death (cf. Amos 5:18; 6:1, Isaiah 5:8-24; 10:1-4; Micah 2:1-5 . . .) . . . or an interjection of distress in the face of present or coming calamity" (The Bible Knowledge commentary: Old Testament  (1:1441)). It was leveled against both Israel ("Samaria") and Judah ("Zion") in that they were complacent ("at ease" and "feel secure"). They were living in prosperity, peace, and had military strength. Consequently, they had become proud. They were living for pleasure rather than the glory of God.

As a result, they would face three judgments:
1) Death (9-10)
2) Destruction (11-13)
3) Disgrace and defeat (14)
Not a pretty outlook, is it?

REFLECTION

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines complacency as "a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements." In the Hebrew, it means "at ease, careless, wanton, arrogant, prideful" (Enhanced Strong's Lexicon).

It causes me to ask myself if I am putting any of my security in something other than the Lord. Is it in my bank account, 401K, nice home, or even my peaceful existence here in comfortable America? Is my security the American Dream? Am I living for my own personal pleasure rather than the glory of God?

Over the last few days, we had a couple staying with us who uprooted their family from the secure soils of America to live in Kurdistan, Iraq in order to help the people there get on their feet after the terrors of Saddam Hussein and the first Gulf War. His wife said, "It was one of the best places in the world to raise a family." They made friends and contributed greatly to the restoration of that society!

What a great example of people who gave up personal pleasure for the glory of God!

APPLICATION

Ask yourself some of the questions in the reflection above and dialogue with God about it.

PRAYER

Lord, teach us not to be smug and prideful and to live only for Your glory. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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