“Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory
    and stretch themselves out on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock
    and calves from the midst of the stall,
who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp
    and like David invent for themselves instruments of music,
who drink wine in bowls
    and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
    but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile,
    and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away.”
  (Amos 6:4-7)

Amos addressed these words to the leading and influential citizens of both Jerusalem and Samaria. They considered themselves to be very religious and felt proud of it. They thought their religion brought them closer to God. Their wealth and fine houses testified to their holy and blessed status. They had such a high opinion of themselves that they felt entitled to look down on their fellow countrymen who they continued to exploit and abuse. They lived sumptuously and lavishly while most of their countrymen had to struggle just to survive. The Lord knew of their selfishness. He pronounced them to be no better than the pagans. Amos warned them that just as those pagan nations were to suffer at the hands of the Assyrians, so would they despite their belief that they were protected by God.

Many in America behave in a way that mirrors the behavior and values of those leaders of ancient Israel and Judah. Many in our land claim that the wealth and freedom of our nation show the Lord’s favor, even though many live as if He does not exist. Many individuals and groups have created their own god one which cultivates values, habits, and policies that are self-centered, unjust, cruel, and, therefore, sinful. Many Christians are caught up in these values of our society rooted in self-centered hedonism and autonomy. Many ignore the need to show compassion and seek justice for the poor and oppressed. Instead they are overly concerned with the antics of the wealthy, celebrities, and politicians. Many more imitate these cultural icons, spending extravagant amounts of money on the latest fashions or the hottest electronic gadgets as well as lavish vacations, and all the things our culture tells us we need to have. 

Those who hold themselves forth as elite and irreproachable, as well as all those who revere and idolize them will be held accountable for their sin for while they live in extravagance, thousands die every day of starvation and illnesses brought on by malnutrition or contaminated food and water. The Lord will surely hold all accountable for worshipping the idols of materialism at the altar of the American dream while neglecting to show compassion to the poor. All of them are on their way to destruction unless they heed the Lord’s call to repent and fall at His feet with sorrow over their sin. And the Lord will delight to show mercy and lift them up.