Woe to you who are at ease in Zion…Woe to you who put far off the day of doom, who cause the seat of violence to come near; who lie on beds of ivory, stretch out on your couches, eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall; who sing idly to the sound of stringed instruments, and invent for yourselves musical instruments like David; who drink wine from bowls, and anoint yourselves with the best ointments, but are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph…“ I abhor the pride of Jacob, and hate his palaces; therefore I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.” Taken from Amos 6:1-8
Let me ask you a question: Do you think of Americans as “high” and those born in poor countries as “low”? How do you compare yourself to someone born in, say, Haiti? If I answer the question honestly, I’d have to say that I ultimately think of myself as better than the poor.
But God says, “Woe to you who are at ease…but are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.” Not just “you should be ashamed of yourself” or “you really should try to do better”, God says “woe to you!” To me that carries an ominous feeling, like something exceedingly bad is about to happen. We don’t say “woe to you” to someone who’s going to get a stern talking to, we say it to someone who is about to be wiped off the face of the earth.
And that is exactly what God is saying to the arrogant, aloof, and rich who do not even consider the needs of the poor and afflicted. We live in luxury while a BILLION people are malnourished in the world. Do we give, do we sacrifice, do we even care? We build palaces of worship while brothers and sisters literally risk their lives for the gospel. Do we support them? Do we pray for them? Do we even care?
“Woe to you” is a strong statement, and God has spoken it to us. He will bring the high and mighty, and exalt the low and humble. Do we care?