This past Sunday we looked into a sobering passage from the book of Amos. Two things stood out as we saw the Lord confronting His people through the Prophet. First, the people were experiencing prosperity and were taking advantage of others trying to maintain and increase their luxury (3:15, 4:1, 5:11-12). Second, although they engaged in worship, their worship was vain and self-centered (4:4-5, 5:21-23). They had mistaken their prosperity for the Lord’s approval of their actions and they seemed to think the Lord was impressed with their worship. What they didn’t realize was, their worship wasn’t really directed toward the Lord at all. Instead, they were worshiping the Lord in hopes of further blessing; which means they were actually worshiping themselves under the guise of worshiping the Lord.
In short, they were comfortable in their luxury and complacent in their worship and instead of loving God and neighbor they were loving only self. Yet, they are completely blind to this thinking the “day of the Lord” will be a day of joy when it will, in fact, be a day of judgment (5:18).
Lest we be tempted to think of this as only a danger for Old Testament Saints and not a threat for New Testament Believers, we should turn our attention to Revelation 3. Specifically to Jesus’ words to the church in Laodicea. Our Lord said:
“For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” (v. 17)
Here too, we see that New Testament Believers are also in danger of prosperity leading them to pride. What is especially sobering is that they too were completely blind to their plight. Jesus exhorted them:
“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” (v. 18)
Jesus purposefully points out that the things they were known for; gold, fine garments, and eye slave were not sufficient. He is saying to them, “you do not have the resources to save yourselves and I am not impressed by your greatness in the world’s eyes.” He tells them that they are instead “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” This was meant to be the bucket of cold water that would shock them out of their fantasies of self-perceived greatness. Jesus is calling them to Himself, to receive from Him what only He can provide.
What about us? Could we too be going about our lives under the impression that everything is good, all the while completely unaware of impending disaster? If you are quick to say, “not me!” Then you need to pay close attention to Jesus’s words:
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent…He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (vv. 19, 22)