I began to read Amos this morning. From the Intro in the NIV Study Bible:
“Israel at the time was politically secure and spiritually smug…The nation felt sure, therefore, that she was in God’s good graces. But prosperity increased Israel’s religious and moral corruption. God’s past punishments for unfaithfulness were forgotten, and his patience was at an end–which he sent Amos to announce…Amos declared that God was going to judge his unfaithful, disobedient, covenant-breaking people…The shrines at Bethel and other places of worship were often paganized, and Israel had a worldly view of even the ritual that the Lord himself had proscribed. They thought performance of rites was all that was required, and, with that done, they could do whatever they pleased–an especially pagan notion.“
Amos chapter 1 is God pronouncing judgments on the other nations for their wickedness. No doubt, as the Israelites heard these judgments, they were all for them. No doubt, this added to their smugness, to their self-assured feelings that THEY were the people of God. I can only imagine the pride swelling within their chests as the lists of offenses piled up.
Little did they know what was coming.
It is so easy to judge others. Even this morning it happened within our own home. It’s easy to find security in our rites, our ritual, our prosperity. But, God does not ignore sin…for three sins…even for four, God does not turn back his wrath.