I want you to imagine with me walking that wonderful street of gold in Heaven. The Bible says that those of us who will be there … those who have received Christ as both Lord and Savior … will as ! Corinthians 13:12 tells us “know even as also I am known”. There is Moses, the Shepherd God set to lead His people Israel. You read His Books of the Law. There over yonder is David – the Shepherd become King, and now a Child of the King as you are. You read His Psalms. Then you see the Apostles Peter, John, and Paul. Two were fishermen, one a Benjamite, but all used of God to write Scripture. You read their books and heard sermons preached from them. Then you see another Shepherd, and you know right away this is Amos. He’s coming your way. Quick, is there a column you can hide behind? What if he asks you “How did you like my Book, the One the Lord wrote through me”. Well, you won’t have to worry about that. Because today we read Chapter 6 of his Spirit inspired Book.
When it comes to the Old Testament there are books that many Christians never read because they think these books have no application to their lives. But that’s not true. The Bible tells us that:
1 Corinthians 10:11 …. all these things happened unto them (speaking of the Old Testament accounts) AS EXAMPLES; and THEY ARE WRITTEN FOR OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come …
Every part of the Bible was written by men of God as the Holy Spirit of God moved them (see 2 Peter 1:21). The Bible tells us that …
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
This includes the Book of Amos, and particularly includes Amos Chapter 6 which we read this morning. The KEY to understanding and applying Chapter 6 is the very first verse of the text:
Amos 6:1 (KJV) 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!
There Are Two Mountains Mentioned In Verse 1
Mount Zion And The Mountain Of Samaria.
1 Let’s Look First At Mount Zion.
a Mount Zion Is The City Of God, The Kingdom of God, The Place Where God Reigns.
“Zion” occurs over 150 times in the Bible, and means “Raised Up” or “Fortification”.
Mount Zion is the high hill in Jerusalem that King David built a citadel on. Zion includes Jerusalem and the Temple. Throughout the Scripture Mount Zion is synonymous with the City of God, the place where God is enthroned. The Jews identified with two mountains:
- Mount Sinai (in Arabia) where they received the Law of God
- Mount Zion (in the Promised Land) where the Grace of God was given
The Law of God convicts of sin – but it is the Grace of God that provides the remedy for sin. The writer of Hebrews wrote of the difference between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion:
Hebrews 12:18-24 (KJV) For ye are NOT COME unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 22 But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Mount Zion is the place of God’s Blessing, the place where the Blood of Christ mediates a New Covenant. Mount Zion is where the Voice of Jesus cries out:
Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Salvation is to come to Christ, to take His Yoke upon you, to receive Him as Lord and Savior. We who are His have entered into rest insofar as our salvation is concerned.
Hebrews 4:3 (KJV) For we which have believed do ENTER INTO REST ….
Our souls REST because we know our eternal destination. Our souls are at ease for we know that Jesus fulfilled the Law for us. We do not stand before God condemned as Law breakers, fearful of Mount Sinai. We are children of Zion, of the City of God because we have rested our faith in Jesus.
Jesus Christ tasted death for all.
Hebrews 2:9, 14-16 (KJV) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. … 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Zion is where our soul shall rest – but not our bodies!
1 Corinthians 3:9 … We are laborers together with God. (the Church is) God’s Garden. (the Church is) God’s building.
b God’s People Are Called To Work Within Their Faith, To Serve The Living God.
Helen Keller was born with sight, but became blind as a young child. She was once asked “Is there anything worst than losing your sight?” She replied, “Yes. It is to have sight, but no vision”.
If you are in Zion you are to labor for Him, you are to serve and love Him. If you are God’s Garden, then the Lord expects FRUIT. If you are God’s BUILDING, then you were made to serve Him.
Amos 6:1 (KJV) Woe to them that are at ease in Zion ….
WOE to them that are AT EASE in Zion.
When God says “W-O-E” then we should “W-H-O-A”.
God is speaking to those who are “in Zion”. They are in the City of God. They are saved by faith in Him. They crossed the Red Sea, they are in the Promised Land. But now they are at ease in Zion. This doesn’t mean they are resting in their faith, but that they are not serving the God Who saved them. If you are saved, you are called to be:
Matthew 5:14-16 (HCSB) You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
We who are His are saved to serve. Jesus said:
John 15:1-2 (HCSB) I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.
Woe unto them that are at ease in Zion
2 Woe Unto Those That Are At Ease In Zion Because They Have Shifted Their Faith To Mount Samaria.
Amos 6:1 (KJV) 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!
The Mountain of Samaria represents the strength of man. Samaria was the most powerful nation on the world at this time in history. Israel – God’s people – made an allegiance with Samaria, a pact with the world. What does God say about His people compromising with the worldly, with the idolatrous?
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV)14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
We who believe in Christ are of Mount Zion. Our hope and strength is in Mount Zion, not in Mountain of Samaria. Oh how foolish to put your trust in man when God is so clearly near. The Bible says that we are not to compromise our faith because of fear. We are to trust in and rely on our God.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 (ESV) Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
The God that saved you is the God you should serve. Samaria may be the chief nation at this time, but God tells us:
Amos 6:2 (KJV) 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?
Calnah was one of the four cities founded by Nimrod (see Genesis 10:10). It was a mighty city that was once a winter residence for the Parthian Kings. Now it is nothing more than a ruined palace and mounds of rubbish.
Hamath the Great was once the capital of one of the kingdoms of Upper Syria. Conquered by Assyrians, the people were exiled to Samaria – and the city was occupied by the enemy.
Gath of the Philistines was one of the 5 Philistine City-States. Today it is no more than an archaeological site – a place of ruins.
These great peoples – once considered unconquerable – turned from following the True God to idolatry and chasing after human power. Today they are nothing, as is anyone who turns from following the Living God. They caused the seat of violence to come near by turning from the Lord Who would have saved them.
a The Darkness Never Takes A Break, But Advances Steadily. How Foolish To Compromise With The Darkness!
Amos 6:3-7 (KJV) 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. 7 Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.
The picture drawn in this text is of a people – a SAVED people – who rather than laboring for the Lord are at ease in themselves.
They are like many who say:
I am saved. The Lord loves me. My name is in the “Roll Up Yonder”
So my race is over. I will rest, and do nothing.
Listen Beloved, the darkness never stops. The Devil never rests. The Bible tells us that:
Ephesians 6:12-13 (KJV) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
We wrestle not against flesh and blood. Our enemy is the forces of darkness, led by Satan, which wants to destroy our America. We must wrestle against these forces in the power of God and with Jesus Christ our Lord. If we do not the darkness will continue to advance. We cannot circle the wagons, and cannot quit in our work.
I know at this time of the year many go on vacation. There is nothing wrong with a vacation for your body – but continue to feed your souls. YOU CANNOT TAKE A VACATION FROM JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. Jesus told us:
Luke 9:23-26 (KJV) …. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
We rest our souls in Jesus,but we are not to be at ease in Zion. We follow Jesus. We read and meditate on His Word. We shine. We work for Him, pushing back the darkness by being obedience Children of God. The darkness never rests.
Every day Christina Zavala would make her 7 year old son a lunch, and tuck a encouraging note and Bible verse in his lunch box. When he got to school – Desert Rose Elementary School – his friends would want to see what his mother wrote. In time, the other students asked for copies of these notes during lunch time. When one little girl told her teacher “this is the most beautiful story I’ve ever seen” the teacher scolded the young boy and said that he could only hand out notes at the school gate, and only after the bell rang at the end of the day. The Zavalas family complied with the school gate directive, and soon, as many as 15 fellow students looked forward to the after-school Bible notes. However, on May 9, 2016, Principal Melanie Pagliaro approached Mr. Zavala at that location, and demanded that they only hand out the notes on a public sidewalk, far from the exit, off school property. The family immediately complied. Later that day, however, a Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff knocked at the door of C’s home, demanding that C’s note sharing cease altogether because “someone might be offended.” The Zavala family contacted Liberty Counsel which is demanding a public apology to the family for “Unconstitutional suppression and censorship of student religious speech”.
The Darkness does not rest. It infiltrates. It says:
Amos 6:10 (KJV) …. Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD.
The Darkness fears the Word of God, and will do everything it can to keep this Word from going forth. Yet we as God’s people must not be at ease. We are at war with the darkness. The darkness will consume us if we do not be the Light that we have been called to be.
Amos 6:11 (KJV) For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.
The safest place to be is to be in the Mountain of Zion.
Live for the Audience of One. Let us be like the Apostles who, when warned not to speak of Christ, declared
Live to please the Heavenly Father Who saved you.
Amos 6:1-14 (KJV) 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 music, 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. 7 Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed. 8 The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein. 9 And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die. 10 And a man’s uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is by the sides of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD. 11 For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts. 12 Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock: 13 Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength? 14 But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.