Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations…
Amos was a native of the southern kingdom, but his ministry was mainly to Israel. His impartiality appears in the censures and reproaches which he addresses, as in this passage, to both Judah and Samaria. But the description applies to professing Christians today as accurately as if it had just then been written, and had been explicitly applied to such. How many who are called to devotion and diligence are "at ease," are "confident," or "secure"!
I. THE DISPOSITION AND HABIT HERE CONDEMNED. The following elements are to be recognized.
II. THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH AGGRAVATE THE SIN OF INDIFFERENCE AND SECURITY. In the case of those here addressed we observe:
1. That they resided in places which were themselves a reminder of the character of Jehovah and of his past "dealings" with the chosen people.
2. That they occupied positions fitted to inspire them with a sense of personal responsibility. They were the distinguished chiefs of the nations - the men to whom the people looked as their leaders, and in whom they might reasonably expect to find an example of piety, unselfishness, and zeal
3. That they lived in times when the judgments of God were abroad, and when insensibility to duty and religion were all the more inexcusably culpable.
III. THE EVIL FOLLOWING UPON THE DISPOSITION AND HABIT HERE CONDEMNED.
1. Divine displeasure is prophetically declared against those who are at ease when they should be at work, against those who are secure and confident when they should be examining and judging themselves, and beginning a new and better life.
2. Moral deterioration cannot but follow upon such a state of mind as is here depicted. The slothful are the first to feel the ill effects of their sloth; the habit grows, and a religious, not to say an heroic, life becomes an impossibility.
3. National disaster and punishment are entailed by the indifference and unfaithfulness of those who are called to be a nation's guides and rulers. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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!