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.
What is the problem? Doesn’t God want those who dwell in the realm of the church to be “at ease?”
That’s not the kind of “ease” which is spoken of here. Here this word is used for those who are “haughty; secure in a bad sense.” (Strong) Consider these verses for a clearer definition: Zechariah 1:14 So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Here it is seen that those of whom he speaks are those who are physically in God’s city, but who are not spiritually associated with him! They are the tares who are dwelling among God’s wheat, who are assuming upon God’s blessings to the elect as if they were their own. They are the goats who have learned to pass themselves off as sheep for the protection and benefits afforded to the flock.
These are they who have have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. From whom we are instructed to turn away. (2 Tim. 3:5). These are they who have received the showers of the word of God, falling down upon their souls, which has only brought forth thorns and briars! Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
They have only “tasted” of the Spirit and word, but have never had the “blessed hunger,” causing them to have the need of constant feeding from Christ! Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
Our Lord preached on this! Listen to his sermon-message: Luke 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
These are they who despise the strong preaching of the Lord’s truly called men. They only go to church in order to be made to feel good, not to have their hearts revealed to them! (See Hebrews 4:12). Therefore God shall cast them away as a potter does to broken pottery! Isaiah 30:9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: 10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: 11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. 12 Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: 13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. 14 And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit. 15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
Why is this ease so dangerous? The Prophet Amos lists two reasons why this ease is so soul destructive! The first is because it makes souls put far away the evil day! Listen to God’s additional word on this matter: Amos 9:10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us. These tares, who have mutually enjoyed, though not spiritually benefitted from, the word preached by the Spirit, have, in their continuous rejection of that word, formed themselves as “scoffers” who now sin against God’s longsuffering with them. They mistake his longsuffering as his approval of their hypocritical conduct! 2 Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
Here is what God reveals of his attitude against this sin, he so well describes: Isaiah 47:6 I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke. 7 And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. 8 Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: 9 But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.
The second thing is extremely frightening! For those who put far away the evil day, actually cause the seat of violence to come near! Their refusal to repent and turn to God, believing his word, seeking to put far away the judgment of God, actually cause it to come nearer to them! The last day shall be like Noah’s day! And even though Noah, (a preacher of righteousness), preached for 120 years, there were only eight soul’s, in his entire world, saved from the waters of judgment. 1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
They had so hardened their hearts, by mocking God’s preacher and his message, refusing to believe the truth, that only the very judgment they scoffed at, was able to teach them, and then it was too late! Matt. 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
And it is not only the atmosphere of their mocking that brings the judgment nearer, but that very toxic realm they produce will also cause the true church to “hasten” that day by their prayers for deliverance! 2 Peter 3:12 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? The Amplified Bible lists those King James words, hastening unto, which implies that the saints were running towards it, as just, hasten. But this reveals that the grieving saints, like Lot in the gate of Sodom vexing his righteous soul every day, will actually bring the day nearer by their cries to God! And the Lord will hear those cries and “shorten” those days for the salvation of his elect people! Matthew 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
That same chapter of Matthew 24 not only reveals that the day shall be as the days of Noah, catching all but Noah and seven others unaware, but this passage also tells of the distraction that those with no clue of its nearness shall be occupied with. Matthew 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Knowing these things, what should we do? None better to answer this than our Lord! Here are his instructions. Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Remember that this doctrine is said to be both comforting and a preparation for greater godliness! 1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
2 Peter 3:11 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? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
Mere religious practice will offer no shelter from this storm! For religion without personal holiness will but attract the Heavenly Axeman to approach for eternal destruction! Matthew 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Here is a description of those to whom the Lord shall look for the bestowing of eternal mercies: Zephaniah 3:12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Dear Reader, we must all continue in humility and godly repentance lest that day catch us unawares! Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Will you be gathered by the gospel, so that you will finally be gathered with the entirety of God’s elect for future glory? Or will you continue to sin against longsuffering to the destruction of your soul? Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
May God have mercy!
Pastor Gene Breed.