Hear ye this word which I take up against you.
The end of carnal security
Such words as these must have fallen like a thunderbolt into the midst of the corrupt and careless inhabitants of Samaria and the other cities of Israel among whom Amos prophesied. It is a dirge or lamentation, uttered by one who sees beyond the present prosperity of the land the future ruin of its proud idolaters.
I. Carnal security. Nothing about sin is more wonderful to the awakened soul than that blindness which hides from the ungodly the awful future. Noah’s generation, on the eve of that signal punishment of the deluge, saw no sign of peril (Matthew 24:39). The same spirit marked the society of Amos’s time. The sinners forgot all fear. They lived in careless ease in their winter houses and summer houses, enjoying all manner of luxury, and no fear of God or man disturbed their rest, or made them pause either in oppression or idolatry. Such is the prevailing spirit of sin. It hills the soul to sleep till suspicion of danger scarcely ever comes to darken the spirit; like the little sailor lads who fell asleep on deck during the roar of the cannon in the great battle of the Nile, none of the dangers rouse them to seek safety (Philippians 3:19).
II. God’s way of breaking this security is by revealing its end. At every turn of this prophecy our wonder at the tact and resource of the prophet seems to grow. His Master took him aside to show him the future, and then, with those awful sights before his eyes, sent him forth to utter his solemn dirge over the vanished glories of the nation. What an effect such revelations must have had on all who were willing to understand their meaning. “The virgin of Israel is fallen”--she who was now adorned with tabrets and joined in the dances of those that made merry (Jeremiah 31:4), should soon lie prostrate, not to rise again, forsaken of all her friends, and without any to lift her up or comfort her--none of her sons left to guide her, or take her by the hand in this day of calamity (Isaiah 51:18). Her glory gone, her pride humbled, her resources cut off. This is the picture of the end of that false security. It is accompanied by God’s message (verse 3), which give added terror to this revelation. A general decay similar to that mentioned in chap. 2:14-16 should fall upon the cities of the land. Application. Remember that sin blinds men’s eyes. The god of this world has no hope of retaining his power save by blinding the eyes of them that believe not. Remember that warning voices are God’s messengers. (J. Telford, B. A.)