At ease in Zion?

Sometimes the passage we are read during family devotions really hits the spot with an immediate illustration or application. This happened the other night. As we gathered in the living room for our evening Bible reading, one of the girls was sprawled all over the couch, reading. She rather ungraciously made room for a couple of other bodies to sit next to her. Then Tim picked up his Bible and opened to the book we’re currently reading, Amos. I noticed a twinkle in his eye, and he boomed out as he began our chapter for the night: Amos 6.

Woe to those who are at ease in Zion ….

We all tittered. But it got better a few verses later:

Those who recline on beds of ivory and sprawl on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, (Amos 6:4)

We laughed heartily, looking at the one who had so recently been sprawled on our couch in one of the premier seats in our living room.

But the more I have been thinking about this passage, the more troubled I have become. And it’s not because of my reclining daughter. No, I am troubled because of the reclining Christians in our nation.

Amos, a shepherd from the southern kingdom of Judah, was writing urgent warnings to those living in the northern kingdom of Israel. The people had already rejected the words of Elijah, Elisha, and Jonah. As Halley’s Bible Handbook puts it, “Israel, hardened in its idolatry and wickedness, was now speeding swiftly on to its ruin, when God sent Amos and Hosea in a final effort to stay the nation in its mad dash for death.”

In chapter 6 Amos contrasts the luxurious comfort and ease of the leaders and the rich with the unfathomable sufferings that were about to come upon them with the Assyrian captivity and slavery.

Amos 6: 4-7
Those who recline on beds of ivory and sprawl on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who improvise to the sound of the harp, and like David have composed songs for themselves, who drink wine from sacrificial bowls while they anoint themselves with the finest of oils, yet they have not grieved over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore, they will now go into exile at the head of the exiles, and the sprawlers’ banqueting will pass away.

Why am I so troubled? I believe that the current economic mess, the full brunt of which may not be fully felt for a long time, and the impending election are part of God’s judgment on America for our idolatry of self, comfort, and riches, and for allowing the legal murder of unborn children for over 35 years. It looks to me that tomorrow's election is very likely to bring Barak Obama, a man who supports abortion in every wicked way he can, to power where he can not only sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act (he’s promised that to be one of his first actions), but also where he will fill the Supreme Court and federal benches with as many liberal, anti-life judges as possible. With more Democrats expected to win seats in the House and Senate, likely giving him a supermajority, getting his legislation and appointments passed should not be a problem for Obama.

But what troubles me most, the part I find unfathomable, is that evangelical Christians, those who say they believe in the complete truth and power of the Bible, in too large numbers are buying into this. (Just today an Obama supporter drove all the way out to our rural home to make sure that Kristen, a newly registered voter, “knew where to vote.” I told her she would not be voting for Obama. As she drove away I noticed that her license plate was one of the “In God We Trust” ones.) So many of those who claim the name of Christ, even including some pastors, seem to be so undiscerning and deluded. How can they be feasting at the banqueting table of contemporary America when we ought instead to be grieving over our sin of killing 1.3 million children each year? May God have mercy on us.

!!! NOTE: If you have not done so, please read Josh Congrove's post "Do you love Jesus, or Obama?" .


A Jam C said…
I have heard from an interpretation of God's wrath as giving us up to the sins and desires of our hearts, and it seems to me that the election of Obama is in a way, God pouring out His wrath. Lord help us.
Rosie said…

I was wondering if you could recommend an Advent "study" that I could do with James. I was hoping to find something that we could do daily during the season. And I thought you may know of one.

Hope everyone is well, thanks for any guidance you can offer.

Anne said…
Rose -

We've used many things through the years, but the one that stands the test of time is a felt advent devotional set that we have had since our oldest son, Andrew, was a baby. The original version had 24 ornaments and a one-page list of scripture verses. I wish I knew who the original creator was, but I don't. Over the years Tim and I have done some pretty extensive revising.

Each ornament is an object lesson. You read a passage of scripture, talk about what it symbolizes,and sing a carol. The way it is written now it works with children over a range of ages, but preschoolers are definitely the original target audience. For our kids, Advent Devotions, as we informally call it (O Come Let Us Adore Him is the more formal name) is one of the key things we do to prepare ourselves to celebrate and worship at Christmas.

This year the ladies in our MOPS groups made sets for their families. If you'd be interested, I'd be happy to send you a set of patterns through snail mail and the file of the study via email. Drop me an email at:

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