Scripture Verses for this POST: Amos 6:1-14; II Samuel 9
Lo-debar is a real physical place; it means “not a pasture” (2 Samuel 9:5); or, Lo-debar was a place of “nowhere’. But it provided safety and a good hiding place for the people.
It was a town in the Old Testament in Gilead, not far from Mahanaim in the Transjordan.
About 2 1/2 hours east of Rapid City, South Dakota (Mount Rushmore). are the beautiful formations that look like a miniature Grand Canyon. These buttes are called “The Badlands”. They derived their name from early American settlers and their difficulties and hardships crossing them on their journey west. Also, it was a great place for robbers and criminals to hide out from the law. I have visited this area on a family vacation at the age of 19, and knowing what I know now…you might just call it a place of “nowhere” or “Lo-debar” from all appearances.
BIBLICAL BACKGROUND: THE PEOPLE OF THE NORTHERN KINGDOM (ISRAEL).
Even while thinking themselves secure, stood doomed for their rejection of the Lord and His ways.
“WOE TO those who are at ease in Zion and to those on the mountain of Samaria who are careless and feel secure” (Amos 6:1).
“WOE” is a word of regret, sorrowfulness, sadness. Amos is lamenting over the wicked lifestyles of those in Zion, resulting in captivity and destruction noted in the last part of this chapter.
The inference, “at ease” means– the people were complacent with a false sense of security. Amos preached in a time, similar to ours in many ways. The people of Israel felt that they were the greatest nation on earth; the same as many feel about America. The people of Jerusalem felt secure because of their Temple and their fortress of Samaria, but they were living an entirely different lifestyle; living to steal, murder, commit adultery, oppress the helpless, follow other gods.
In America today sin runs rampant; abortion (the killing of the unborn), has all become a way of life. As a whole, our people are more concerned about material possessions, money, entertainment, the pursuit of pleasure, increased leisure time, etc., than they are in anything about God or His Church.
Realizing we’ve been grafted into the vine and now part of the Body of Christ, the Church, I’m going to paraphrase the verse in Amos slightly: “Woe to them who are at ease in the Church!”
THE CHARGE IS COMPLACENCY:
Amos 6:4 “WOE to those who lie upon beds of ivory and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat lambs out of the flock and the calves out of the midst of the stall.”
Amos 6:5 “Who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and invent for themselves instruments of music like David’s.”
Amos 6:6 “Who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest of oils, but are not grieved and sick of heart over affliction and ruin of Joseph (Israel)!”
What actually does the word COMPLACENT mean? Well, to start with, it is a place in life that’s much like Lo-debar. Complacent means, “smug, self-satisfied”…’I can do this thing without anyone’s help, including God!’ (Roget’s Thesaurus in Dictionary Form).
There is a description given at this point in the above verses, where COMPLACENCY is described in detail in God’s Word:
1. Their homes, furnishings and clothes were the best! v4a.
2. They ate the BEST of food, and as much as they desired! v4b.
3. Their attention was primarily on things of entertainment and pleasure! v5.
Now PROSPERITY isn’t all a bad thing. No one wants to live their lives in poverty. But JESUS tells us one reason for which He came was for us to “find pasture”; so that we might ENJOY LIFE…in abundance, to the full, till it overflows. He certainly doesn’t come into our lives to steal, kill and destroy. That’s for the thief (John 10:10).
BUT, in saying all this, it also becomes OBVIOUS to me in Amos, it’s a lot like one description of America today; much of it could even be applied to the CHURCH.
We must have the best ‘stuff’…it will make feel much better and happier in life. We eat the best food, and plenty of it! Our attention is primarily on entertainment and pleasure. And, there is much drunkenness and drug addiction in our land today. [*Purdue University Police Department Report; July – October 2013]:
Drug Offenses – 40
Drunk Driving – 18
Liquor Law Violations – 45
Public Intoxication – 39
What Started All of this Complacency?
The people of Israel as described in Amos, had enjoyed a time of Great Prosperity; they could have one of two reactions:
#1. They could react as most were doing; showing pride and boastfulness. They were living extravagantly, while taking all the credit for their prosperity themselves.
#2. They could have reacted in humility, realizing that God’s blessings was the source of what they were enjoying.
Where has the people’s TRUST gone?
— Their TRUST was in their military might (v. 1 – the mountain of Samaria).
— They had no serious thoughts (v. 3 – The evil day…the day of judgement).
— They made the pursuit of prosperity their primary objective (v. 4).
— They were not grieved or concerned with the condition of their nation (v. 6 b – the affliction of Joseph). Joseph is a type of Christ, rejected and afflicted by the world; and perhaps today we are not grieved for the world…the unsaved in the community…the Lost!
*NOTE: Is there causes of COMPLACENCY in the Church?
The causes of complacency in the Church today is very well described here in these verses in Amos. We’ve been raised and live in the most affluent nation in the world. We’re accustomed to A LIFESTYLE viewed by the rest of the world as EXTRAVAGANT.
#1. We TRUST MUCH in our military might. Many in our country seem to have no serious thoughts about anything, least of all about their own relationship with Father God.
#2. We PURSUE RICHES and things as if they will last forever. Most in our country, in our churches, are not grieved with the sins of or country or our churches.
What do I mean when I say “not grieving”? The King James Version Dictionary gives this definition of GRIEVED: To feel pain of mind or heart. To be in pain on account of evil; to sorrow; to mourn and weep.
#3. Even in the church, we trust most in our wealth, our reputation, our buildings, our Youth Programs, our successes, our abilities (“what I can do!); rather than TRUSTING GOD.
#4. Many of us seldom stop to think about our personal relationship with God–what He requires of us. You’ve got to have conversation in any true relationship or there is not a relationship at all, perhaps leading to divorce.
And, we are not grieved for the lost! The unsaved in our neighborhoods.
COMPLACENCY COMES WITH A CURSE!
In Amos’ Day:
COMPLACENCY led to the death on the nation – vs. 7-14.
COMPLACENCY caused people to reject, fail to carry out, their divine mission.
COMPLACENCY denied them their destiny as a great nation.
In Our Day:
#1. COMPLACENCY may lead to the death of some local churches. Revelation 1:20 Jesus said: The seven Lamp-stands…the seven churches. Then in Revelation 2:5, Jesus said to the church at Ephesus: “Repent and do the works you did previously, or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.”
#2. COMPLACENCY robs the church and God’s people of many energetic servants.
#3. COMPLACENCY also robs us of our JOY and all of our rewards after this life.
The Cure…the exiting of Lo-debar!
The FIRST STEP in the cure is, to understand the LOVE and MERCY of God: He loved us enough to send His Son Jesus to die on the Cross for our sins.
He delights to show MERCY to the repentant soul.
His LOVE and MERCY are eternal!
We must then search out the issues and values of Eternity.
WE MUST REALIZE…the soul; who we are…our personality, the UN-camouflaged religious self, lives forever!
WE MUST THINK ABOUT…where we will spend eternity!
WE MUST BEGIN…to live for eternity than for the right now!
WE MUST THEN ACT…not just think; it is necessary to accept Christ Jesus, dedicating our lives to Him!
We must hear and obey the commands of our Savior.
WE MUST SEEK…His will, His Word, His command for each one of us.
WE MUST LEARN…to recognize Him, when He talks to and with us–sheep will always recognize the voice of the Shepherd!
WE MUST THEN OBEY…His directions, or…we can remain in The Land Called Lo-debar.
Which is it going to be for you? Live in COMPLACENCY, or like Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, the son of Saul? Mephibosheth came out of Lo-debar to live forever at the king’s table:
“David said to him [Mephibosheth], Fear not, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your father [grandfather], and you shall eat at my table always” (II Samuel 9:7 AMP).
AS FOR ME, I will be seated at the Lord’s banquet table, my eternal King, forever and forever! Amen!