“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion.” God is not against His people’s enjoyment of the physical blessings that He provides. He wants them to be able to have happiness about all that He Himself considers to be a healthy provision for them. Yet with those joys of life, the Lord also calls us to be “grieved” over the “ruin” of His kingdom.
Leading families in ancient Israel were full of pride concerning their own achievements. They imagined that they were better than all of their neighbors, but they were not rightly evaluating the “day of disaster” that they would face from the Almighty.
The wealthy rulers enjoyed all the benefits of their positions of influence. They had well-furnished homes and plenty of entertainment to fill their days. They drank “bowls” of wine and anointed their bodies with expensive ointments. None of these good gifts would save them from the troubles that would soon take place. Even in the finest palaces, once haughty dignitaries would crouch in fear after the assault of powerful foreign adversaries. Their great houses would be reduced to “fragments.”
The society of the northern tribes was in great moral and spiritual disarray despite their outward prosperity. All of their boasts in wealth would be of no comfort to them when they were overtaken by forces from the east. They would find themselves in the hands of more powerful men who would rule harshly over them. Even more significant than imperial authorities such as the Assyrian kings, God Himself would discipline them according to His own eternal plan.
The church in every era needs to care about those developments that move the heart of God. We cannot safely be governed by our own desires for greatness. We should rejoice as the Lord rejoices and mourn with our great King at those things that grieve the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus has instructed the church to seek first the Kingdom of God. Only by having the mind of Christ can we live life well during a time and place of significant departure from biblical standards.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our Father, we care about Your church. We will not be at ease in the face of so much lawlessness among Your people. We look for the pleasures of the life to come, and give up on the pride of our hearts and the passing attractions of sin. Grant to us a due regard for the seriousness of disobedience within Your covenant community. Please forgive us, for we have not loved justice and holiness as we should.