Ungodly Prosperity in Amos

 

Amos is a very depressing book. It is pretty much 9 chapters of judgement, with a little bit of hope in the last 5 verses. The book starts out with judgements against Foreign nations, but moves to Amos' mission field: Israel, the northern kingdom. He has some very stern words for these people. He rebukes them for their sin, particularly their excessive living and taking advantage of the poor. Over and over again God announces his judgement over the sins of Israel.

In fact, Amos' message was so aggressive, Amaziah the priest of Bethel tells Amos to go away and bother Judah (7:12). Amos is not very popular. His message is filled with harsh judgement from God, and Israel did not want to hear it. They were prosperous. They were comfortable. Why then do they need God? Why would they want to listen to Amos?

The book of Amos serves as a strong warning to the rampant American materialism in our culture. Read the book and you will observe that the northern kingdom sounds alot like the USA:

"Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and strech themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the soundof the harp..." Amos 6:4ff

This excessive living and comfort is disturbing to God. I don't think that prospeterity and comfort are bad things, but Israel seems to have made them into ultimate things. America has done the same. We roam around seeking possessions, comfort, and ease. We have prosperity, but we don't use it to serve the poor or advance the Gospel. We use it to buy rib-eye steaks or a bigger TV. This American greed has become so thick in our vains, that we don't even realize it effects our every thought. It informs our every discision.

A Christian is not to live for comfort and ease, but to sacrifice all things for the sake of Jesus. We are called to lay all things down, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus. The Spirit must purge every ounce of materialism that runs through our veins, and we must submit our lives to the Lordship of Christ. We are the richest nation in the world, and to whom much is given, much is expected. Therefore, let our treasure not be found in this world, but in the Lord Jesus.

Jesus vs Material Possessions

There is something intoxicating about buying something brand new. From the smile that springs across our face when we purchase a new car, or how great we feel after buying a brand new pair of shoes, or celebrating the coolness of our latest technological gadgets. It is no secret that Americans love to buy and have new things. Despite our vain pursuit of attaining all things new, none of it really satisfies. Sure you might enjoy that brand new outfit for a while, but pretty soon that intoxicating feeling fades away as you, the materialistic junkie, goes out and finds your next fix as the bill for that plastic gold continues to inflate. We build our lives around the attaining and achieving of material wealth. Our children are told to go to college, so that they can make more money so that they can buy more stuff. Then the infinite financial juggling of keeping up with the Joneses begins as a bigger and bigger house is acquired and newer and more expensive cars are purchased. The reality is that our whole American culture and economy is built around the celebration and worship of consumerism.

However despite being one of the richest countries in the world, we are constantly miserable and uncontent. We also want more, or think life will get a little bit better if we could just grab that promotion, or purchase that boat. Have you ever wondered why this is the case? What is it about our souls that refuses to be content in these material possessions? The answer? Material possessions do not satisfy, only Jesus Christ can satisfy the longing and desire of our heart. The glory of all possessions fail and just end up in good will or at the landfill.

The greed and idolatry of American Culture causes us to easily find our joy and contentment in material possessions. Our souls long for something more than mere earthly trinkets. They desire the eternality of joy, and satisfaction that Jesus gives us. He died on the cross in your place for your sins to unite you with God. Our delight and treasure is found in Him and Him alone. Our hearts are all to often satisfied with junk rather that the creator God who has redeemed us through Christ.

Be cautious and watch your heart that you do not find your joy in ‘things‘ but in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Check your priorities. Guard the check book. Prayerfully watch over your heart. Listen to the Spirit as he reveals inconsistency. Repent of sin. Do not be content living in a pile full of stuff, instead of finding your joy in Christ.