While describing the spiritual condition of the nation of Israel during his tenure as God’s prophet, Amos was also describing that which is known as “the church” in these final days of the age. In 6:1-5 he summarizes the spiritual state of Israel then and the church now as being “at ease in Zion.” In this context the word “Zion” refers to those known as God’s people. He condemns those who call themselves by His name for not being “grieved for the sins of Joseph,” meaning the descendants of Joseph’s two sons: Ephraim (Great Britain) and Manasseh (the United States). “I abhor (hate) the excellency of Jacob (Israel/Zion/U.S./G.B.) and hate his palaces (fine homes/synagogues/churches)–vs 8. Here God is saying to Israel through His prophet that He hates the modern church’s physical luxury and her magnificent citadels of sin where Satan’s false gospel is being preached and his false prophets tell the people “smooth things, lies and deceits” (Isa. 10:30). Speaking to ancient Israel and their modern day descendants, God says through the Prophet Jeremiah that His people have become fat, their bodies shining with sweet smelling oils. They wallow in luxury while the needy among them are not helped. Their prophets prophesy falsely because “… My people love to have it so” (Jer. 5:28-31). Just as He warned ancient Israel through Jeremiah and Isaiah about her lax attitude toward sin, He warns modern Israel through the Apostle John in Revelation 3:14-17: “I know your works, that you are neither hot nor cold … (therefore) I will spew you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and do not realize that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor and blind and naked.” A better description of modern day Christianity cannot be found.
Like ancient Israel, their end-time descendants are an abomination unto the Lord because they love what God hates and hate what God loves. Amos had God’s point of view–he loved what God loved and hated what God hated. God declares that he hates sin and embraces holiness. But those who claim to be His children declare their love for sin and their rejection of holiness. THEY PROCLAIM THAT GOD ALLOWS THEM TO DO WHAT HE HATES AND TO REJECT WHAT HE EMBRACES SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY CALL HIS SON THEIR SAVIOR.
Lot exhibited the attitude toward sin that one must have in order to enter the Kingdom of God upon Christ’s return. Living in Sodom, righteous Lot was surrounded by evil of every sort. Some of the Sodomite’s sins were gluttony, excess, pride, idleness and their love for “strange flesh”–homosexuality–just as does the “ONE NATION UNDER GOD” known far and wide for having “a church on every corner.” The Apostle Peter noted that Lot was “greatly grieved by the licentiousness (unchecked sin) that surrounded him.” Peter noted that Lot was “vexed in his righteous soul day after day with the lawless deeds” of the Sodomites (2 Pet. 2:7,8).
Are we as repulsed by what we see in the world today, even in the church, as was Lot? Do we watch hours of it on t.v. and in movie theaters? When Satanic garbage is preached from the world’s pulpits; when gay pride flags fly in front of church buildings; when church people are at ease in Zion, when unborn babies are slaughtered by the millions, when criminals go unpunished and the righteous are maligned …., are we grieved to the core of our beings? I am. My heart breaks when I see what my beloved nation has become. My soul cries out for a greater opportunity to speak to the world’s masses, preferably face-to-face, and tell them what God says. Though Jesus tells me in Matthew 7:13,14 that few would believe what I tell them, I would relish the opportunity to help those few. I have only two goals in this life: to walk in holiness and to tell others how to walk in holiness. As the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 5:21 and 6:22, only those who walk in righteousness and holiness now will walk into the Kingdom of God later. Read The Kingdom of God. Key word–Kingdom.
We must not be “at ease in Zion.” We must get our priorities straight and our minds (hearts) set on the good. This is difficult in an age in which wickedness surrounds us both outside our homes and inside our homes through television and the world-wide web. The Lord has commanded me to stop watching t.v. except for news and documentaries. The things I once loved to watch–sports, cop shows, etc.–I now ignore. He has removed all desire for such things BECAUSE I LOVE WHAT HE LOVES AND HATE WHAT HE HATES. He commands us to “redeem the time” He has given us (Col. 4:5). He tells those who seek Him early that they will find Him (Prov. 8:17). Predawn hours when there are no distractions is an excellent time to get before Him in prayer. With good well-fixed in our minds, we can then delve into His Word to learn about more good. We must think like God in order to be like Him. “When men have seen me they have seen the Father” is the goal we must reach. That level of character does not come without sacrifice on our part. As I stated in the previous posting, God reaches down to us in order to pull us up to where He is spiritually. If we do not reach up to Him in search of good, we will remain in our earth-bound spiritual condition. While in that condition Satan will make us believe that we are in the center of God’s will. Adam and Eve knew God personally, spoke with Him face-to-face, heard His voice, etc. Yet Satan convinced them with one word–“not”–that they should believe him (Satan). So quickly and easily did he deceive them with that one word that they walked to the forbidden tree, pulled the forbidden fruit from a limb and ate it. They were at ease in Zion–temporarily. God is not at ease in Zion, so neither can we be.
Lot’s wife provides a good example of being at ease with sin while in Zion. Sodom and Gomorrah were in Israel/Zion. Sin is seductive and fun. After escaping the hell God rained down on the wicked city, Lot’s wife looked back with longing in her heart for that life-style of ease, luxury and license that she had left. Even righteous Lot had lingered when the angels told him to leave. Sin is seductive. Lot’s wife could not get the craving for it out of her system. She could not bring herself to hate what God hated. Jesus tells us to “Remember Lot’s wife” (Lk. 17:32) for a reason.
Once we have escaped the world’s pollutions, we must not go back (2 Pet. 2:20-22)–not even for a “season.” Big city prostitutes look forward to preachers’ conventions because business always picks up when Satan’s “ministers of righteousness” come to town. We must continually “purify ourselves even as He is pure” (1 Jn. 3:6). This is done by a continuous “washing of the water of the Word” (Eph. 5:26). We must not be conformed to this world, rather, we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds by the power of God’s Spirit. We must fill our minds with the Law of God. We must think on that which is true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of a good report (Phil. 4:8). WE MUST LOVE WHAT GOD LOVES AND HATE WHAT GOD HATES. WE MUST ESCHEW EVIL AND DO GOOD (1 Pet. 3:10,11). We do what we love and refrain from doing what we hate. Sinners Saved By Grace prove that they love sin by sinning. They prove that they hate righteousness by rejecting even the possibility of being holy. Regardless of their church-wide theology, we cannot love God and do what He hates. We must emulate Him by hating sin and eschewing it. After all, what relationship does God have with Satan? a believer with an infidel? God’s temple with idols? (2 Cor. 6:14-20). TO LIVE WITH GOD IN THE NEXT LIFE WE MUST LIVE LIKE GOD IN THIS LIFE. We must walk toward good and run from evil. God and Satan call each one of us. We choose the voice we will obey. Read Sin is a Choice. Key term–Choice. L.J.