1 “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!
7 Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile,
and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away.”
Comparison is easy and pretty natural, isn’t it? We talked about it a couple of Fridays back in the message, and it’s easy to do…we look around and immediately think
“I’m not as bad as her”, or,
“I’m much better at my job than him, why didn’t I get that promotion?”.
When we compare and put ourselves above others, this is obviously not a good thing as pride is taking over. Here God speaks through Amos and warns His people against feeling relaxed, sure, and content based on how they view themselves in comparison to others (vv.1-3).
Living here in Bahrain there will always be people who earn far less money than you do. But, do you look at them with contempt or with compassion? Do we compare and think that we are worth more because we earn a little more? If we really want to play the comparison game here, we will always lose…none of my friends own an oil field or travel everywhere by helicopter…which some here do. As God makes clear, are we really better, or is it our own perception? (v.2b).
Even when we are blessed with a time of prosperity, as Israel was here (vv.4-7), we must never view ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12.3). When God blesses us with a time of prosperity, be it financial, familial, or friendship and fellowship, we have an obligation to use this prosperity to glorify Him. We know, don’t we, that all good things come from Him (James 1.17), and that even when things don’t look as if they are going our way from our perception, that for those who love God, everything is working out for our ultimate good…our salvation in Christ.
So, whether today/this week/this month is a time of prosperity, or a time of circling the wagons and retreating, we still have that obligation to glorify God because we know that He is guiding and providing, no matter where our comparing mind takes us.