AT EASE IN ZION
Amos 6:1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came! 2 Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border? 3 Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; 4 That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; 5 That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David; 6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
Although few would realize it, being “At Ease in Zion” is an extremely dangerous matter! The majority would set forth sensationalistic and catastrophic happenings as the reason for God’s judgment on the human race! But that is because they have been falsely guided by their religion acting with its influences upon only their inordinate affections. Therefore let us not look to such matters as the determinate cause of the end of a social phase, or the ending of everything. But what then, do the Holy Scriptures relate concerning this matter? Here is what the Holy Spirit dictated through the Apostle Paul as he wrote to his spiritual son Timothy.
2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous (dangerous) times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
First of all these endings shall not be affected by man, but by God Himself! He is the Alpha who began it all, and he alone is the Omega who shall end it all! It shall not be by man’s doings. Matthew 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For it is “the day of the Lord,” not the day of any nuclear disaster! And he shall “melt” the “elements” with a heat here-to-fore unknown to man. 2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
And secondly we see that this most ‘perilous,’ or dangerous time shall be preceded by men being “lovers of their own selves,” and “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” THAT is the cause of these endings! Therefore men living for their own pleasures rather than for the glory of God is a great sign of dangerous times! 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. For man was not created to turn into himself and seek his own pleasures. He was created to turn upward and glorify God forever! 1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Jeremiah 9:23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
Here is our Lord’s description of what it is to be “at ease in Zion.” Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
And what did he tell the young rich man who had, according to his own mind, lived a holy life, but asked, “What lack I yet?” Take careful notice of our Lord’s response. For we know that salvation is not of works! (Ephesians 2:8-10) So the Lord was not instructing him as how he could perform additional duties in order to be borned again. He was instructing him as to that which was hindering him from being given God’s perfections by grace! He instructed him to get rid of that which was giving himself a wrongful view of life and making him to be “at ease in Zion.” Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The rich man who desired bigger barns died “at ease!” Job 21:22 Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high. 23 One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet.
The very night in which he proclaimed ease to his soul, God required that soul back from him! 1 Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. He had actually fattened himself up for the slaughter! James 5:5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. May God have mercy on Americans solely seeking carnal pleasures!
But what is our remedy from this impending wrath? Let us again look to the scriptures: First we must realize, like the Lord wished the young ruler to understand, that riches will not help in the day of God’s wrath! Proverbs 11:4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
Then we must understand our heart’s proper relationship with this world’s goods. For it is not wrong to have riches. But it is wrong to set one’s heart upon them! We are instructed to use the world, but not abuse it! 1 Corinthians 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
Please read the following passage carefully. It is essential to the preserving of your dear souls. For we are commanded to exhort one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
1 Timothy 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Be careful, dear Reader, for Satan can lull one into a false peace that will destroy their soul! Jeremiah 6:14 They have healed also the hurt (the sanctified trials of the cross) of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. The absence of problems is not peace! Our Lord slept peacefully during a storm that terrified seasoned fishermen!
Luke 11:21 When a strong man (Satan) armed keepeth his palace, his goods (unsuspecting souls) are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he (Christ) shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.
It will do well to reprint this verse listed on page one of this article. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
For it is Christ’s living words within one’s heart which grant peace in the midst of life’s certain storms! John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. Christ’s peace in one’s heart will dwell contented in faith and trust in him even amidst severe trials! Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
But those who profess belief and start out well, can come to realize that they did not have true, saving faith when life’s trials and afflictions come upon them. Such are the stony and thorny ground hearers. Mark 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
But in the same trials and afflictions there is certain proof of other’s election and calling of God. 2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
For no one can show their faith without the true works of patience in tribulation! Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
It is those who have faithfully come through tribulation who receive eternally the clothing of Christ’s imputed righteousness! Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
There is one other warning given to Amos for the souls under his care. It was a warning against those who wrongfully look for God’s intervention. Amos 5:18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. 19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Just as there are those today excited about the Lord’s coming, but only for their escape from trials; not for them getting to the Lord! Therefore to them it shall be a surprising day of darkness and not a day of light!
Pastor Gene Breed
June 25, 2020