Lent Devotional: Amos 6:4-7
by Jonathan Haefs
Amos 6:4-7 (click here)
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! (Amos 6:4-6)
I splurged not that long ago.
There were these noise-canceling headphones I had been saving up for a long time and, after receiving a monetary gift, I finally had enough! I wear these things all the time now… especially if I am trying to read or study. Yes, they were expensive, but they seem to be worth every penny as the luxury blocks out all the noise and allows me to ignore whatever is going on around me.
Luxury, in general, can have this effect on us… can’t it? Enabling us to insulate ourselves and ignore all that is going on around us.
The prophet Amos cried out against such luxurious insulation. The rich of the nation could not be bothered with the ruin of their brothers because they were too busy lounging, feasting, and writing songs.
It’s not that there is something wrong with lounging, feasting, and songwriting… I mean Amos actually compares their musical creativity to that of David, which we know was honoring to the Lord. So why was David’s music-making ok, but the people in Amos’ day are being called out for creating new melodies?
David’s music was about connecting with God and others. The people of Amos’s time used music to insulate themselves from God and others and to be completely self-absorbed. All of their lounging and feasting was centered on glorification of the self… not glorification of God and an invitation to all to come and enjoy him.
This danger is so ever-present in our affluent society. Most of us have the time and resources to insulate ourselves from the world if we want. We don’t need to depend on God… we have enough to take care of ourselves. We don’t have to pay attention to the needs of others… we can block them out with noise-canceling headphones.
Lord have mercy and remind us that all we have is from you and to be used for you. May we even lounge, feast, and make music in ways that connect us and others with you! Let us not use luxury to insulate ourselves, but let us use our lives and every resource you’ve given us to pulsate with your love!
Let us splurge in the riches of your glory and extend the invitation for everyone else to do the same!