Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, & Micah: Day 11

Woe to the Complacent

by

Today's Text: Amos 6:1-14, Amos 7:1-17, Psalm 47:1-9, Acts 4:13-20

Scripture Reading: Amos 6:1-14, Amos 7:1-17, Psalm 47:1-9, Acts 4:13-20

It’s hard to read Amos without squirming.

Throughout this short book—chapter 6, in particular—Amos paints a scene of extravagance and wealth. Israel is at the height of its splendor. Riches, comfort, leisure, and affluence are all theirs for the taking. They are privileged to the extreme, a portrait that sounds quite a bit like many countries and cultures we inhabit today.

Mistakenly, the Israelites hoarded their opulence as “blessing.” They saw the provision as an end in itself, a gift from God to be indulged. They also drew security from it. They took pride and comfort in being more powerful than the countries around them. They measured success by having more of it than their neighbors.

God rebuked them for their greed, and in the strongest possible terms, because He viewed blessing quite differently than the Israelites. God did not intend for the Israelites to prosper simply to luxuriate in it. He did not provide them with wealth simply as an assurance of security. And He did not allow them ease of life simply to grow complacent. The blessings of God were never meant to be stored up like grain. In the wake of God’s judgment on Israel’s pride, Amos cried out, “Lord God, please forgive!” (7:2).

Thousands of years later, Amos’s words are as relevant as ever. We continue to live in a world of vast economic disparity. From country to country, and even community to community, the range of prosperity is wide. In some cities, multi-million dollar homes sit within miles of homeless shelters and housing projects, and Christians populate them both. And so, wherever we fall on this spectrum of wealth, Amos challenges us with this question:

What are we to do with our blessing?

Whatever the size and the shape of our privilege, how are we to use it? Amos compels us to consider this question, but so does the witness of Christ. Jesus, after all, “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” but “took the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:6-7), meaning He leveraged His privilege for others. Jesus denied Himself comfort and set His splendor aside out of love for God and the world. We cannot claim to follow Him without following Him in this also.

Jesus’ handling of His own privilege is the standard passed down to us. When we want to know what to do with our blessing, we look to Christ. When we enjoy success, gain, or even a leg up, we are never meant to hoard it for ourselves. Rather, as followers of Jesus, we are meant to leverage our blessing for others, just as He did for us.

This is radical. Even in the Church, this is radical. When blessing comes our way, it’s easy to receive it as a personal reward for faithfulness. Or it’s tempting to store it away for the sake of financial security. Neither response is wrong in itself, but our vision should always be bigger than ourselves. God’s intention for blessing is never individual; He always has a broader blessing in view.

Just as Israel was meant to be a light to the nations, and the Church a light in the world, everything we are given has a greater purpose. May we steward our blessings accordingly.  

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Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, mom, and she holds a PhD on women and calling. She blogs at SheWorships.com, and is the author of Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You.

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  • Jesus,

    I thank you for another day and for your unconditional love and grace. I thank you for the blessings that you have graciously given me, blessings I don’t deserve and that I don’t always recognize. Jesus I pray that you help me to recognize my blessings and to use them not just for me, but to bring glory to your name. Jesus I pray today that you change my mindset, that every area of my mind that is distracted by things of this world or distracted by my worries, cares, fears, or focused in the wrong area I pray Lord that you give me a new mind and a new way to think about things. Lord help me to resist the temptation to go backwards in any area of my life, to resist the temptation to give in to my flesh, lord help me to change my mind about these areas and to be different. Jesus, I thank you for who you are and I ask for forgiveness right now for being so complacent in my life. Jesus I pray that you shake me, that you give me your heart and that you renew my desire for you and for the things that truly matter. I need your help Jesus, I am nothing without you. I thank you that you are good and that your mercy endures forever. Jesus, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Change me Lord, help me in times of loneliness to choose you, in times of struggle to choose you, in times of disappointment to choose you and even in times of blessing to choose you and your plan. Lord let your Will be done in my life, help me Lord to not loose sight of you in my life. I need you Jesus. Help me Lord, and whatever you do don’t take your hands off of me. I need your plan to be fulfilled in my life.

    In Jesus Name
    Amen ♥️

  • Allison Joy

    The verses that really stood out to me are Amos 6:10b-11. “‘Keep quiet. For the name of the Lord is not to be mentioned. For behold, the LORD is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces and the small house to fragments.” They treat is as though if they ignore God, He will forget and leave them alone. But in reality, calling on the name of the Lord is the only thing that could have saved them.

  • Thanks so much for this needed insight! It was really spot on. It’s easy to feel that blessings are my ‘reward’ as if I have earned them on my
    own and not as God’s grace and goodness meant to be shared.

  • Christy

    So good, thank you Sharon!

  • As a black woman, this resonated with me on more than one level. Thank you.

  • Blessed

    We’re struggling with thithing. We are on one income, we barely have much money left once bills are paid. Do we tithe anyway and pray for the best? My husband says no, I say yes. Ugh. Any thoughts on this would be so helpful!

    • Vanessa

      Not tithing does not make you a bad person. It’s more or less a sign of your faith. Tithing is for many other reasons, but are you not tithing out of fear or out of practicality?

      Mark 12: 41-44 is a parable called the “Widow’s Offering”.
      https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12:41-44

      I don’t think this parable is to pressure you into submission. I think it’s to show her faith. So whether you continue to tithe or not, I think it’s more of where your faith is at. I really think you do have faith in His provisions, but it seems you are not sure if temporarily not tithing mean you are disobeying God. I know some people may cease to tithe for a few months but when their debts are paid they catch up on all their tithes later when they can. It just depends on what you can do/want to do.

      Just know, if you two prayerfully come to a decision that right now is not the best time, you still have God’s grace. You can’t earn God’s love by tithing. Depending on your church even, if you are NOT members many pastors actually do not require or expect tithes. I can’t say what you should do. I am unemployed and have a hefty credit card bill to pay off, but I know in the past when I showed my faith through tithing despite my struggles, God has found a way for me.

      If you choose not to tithe right now, I pray peace over your finances and in your marriage. Again, God understands. But if you choose to tithe, consciously pray over your tithe and God will honor your faith. God honors small acts done in faith.

      I read somewhere that tithing is a way to figure out if you’re holding on to money too much as security, so again, it’s a faith thing. But this is especially hard to figure out if you’re in debt because debt isn’t biblical. It’s like, “Do I keep tithing while in debt or wait when I’m out of debt?” If you really, really, really think you can’t tithe, you can volunteer and help your church in other ways. Give away things you don’t use or need to people who do need it. God calls us to give in other ways, too. Not just tithes. Just “be still” and in that moment of quiet God will whisper to you. You can never do wrong if you act out of FAITH, not fear. <3

    • Joanne

      There are 2 issues at work here. One is the tithe. I am older and have lived in a variety of settings including married with one income barely above minimum wage, homeless shelters, low income hosing, rented house while in college and now with good income and I own the house. I had children in all of these settings. I want to encourage you and your husband to obey God and tithe. There will be great struggle as there almost always is with obedience. That being said, I absolutely do not want to encourage you to aggravate your husband but rather to patiently pray for him. Discussing the issue with your minister may be an option.

      • Allison

        Totally agree with Joanne! Also, when we are called to give, it is never the scrapings that are left over after all other things are paid off. We are called to give our first fruits! Pray and ask God to provide after that. And I assure you, He will! Praying for you along this journey of faith!

    • Emily

      I grew up in a home with a single mother who worked 2-3 jobs to support me and my sisters. We didn’t have much, but my mom always set a good example for us in tithing/giving. Because she made giving a priority, God always showed His faithfulness to us and we never went without. The lessons I learned from her obedience to tithe and God’s blessings are ones that helped shape my giving as an adult. My husband was not raised in the same way, and thus it took awhile for him to see the importance of tithing, even when you have very little. Continue to pray for your husband and have faith that God will provide! I promise you that when we are obedient with little, He will entrust us with much more than we could ever ask or imagine!

      • Celeste

        So true. Tithing is not obligation but rather honoring and obeying God. In Malachia 3:8, 10 we see a question being raised in verse 8 and an answer later in verse 10. Tithing is a way we allow God for open up blessings for us, and proves our total dependence. The Lord surely understands but still His word doesn’t change. We rob God and ourselves when we do not give. I am a young mother and married for almost 3 years, none of us either me or hubby holds a full time job but that has taught us to be dependent on God. In many cases we would tithe and give and the Lord continues to provide. God is our only source and the only provider. If we belong to Him, our money too. Seek the Lord on this matter and submit to your husband. The Lord is faithful and if you honor Him, surely He will too. Blessings

        • Blessed

          You all are so awesome! Thank you for your responses. I am going to pray on this!!! Thank you ❤️

  • Christine

    The words of Amos just jumped off the page to me today. “I was not a prophet or the son of a prophet… But the Lord took me from following the flock…”. I was a broken woman – but the Lord took me. I was a heroin addict – but the Lord took me. I was a liar, a thief – but the the Lord took me. The Lord took me from the darkness and flooded me with light. He took me from the filth and washed me clean. Whiter than snow. He took me from my pain and set a crown upon my head. And now – I am unable to stop speaking about what I have seen and heard!!! Praise the Lord for He is holy and precious and I love Him so.

    • EarlyBird

      Praise the Lord! May His name always be glorified in and through you and the story of hope you have to share with so many! God bless you!

    • DebbieinAZ

      Beautifully said. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jess

      Praise the Lord Christine! Your post brought me to tears!

    • Courtney W

      Beautiful!

    • Lexi

      God is so so good. I love to hear stories like yours (I have my own), and see how our always loving Father picks us up by our boot straps and draws us nearer to Him. ❤️

  • Sarah D.

    Hey guys! Haven’t commented in awhile…hope you all are doing well! ❤️could you guys please pray for me? Been struggling with my biology and chemistry classes lately, didn’t get good grades on the tests. It’s just been frustrating, because I felt like I studied well for the biology test, and I ended up doing worse than the first one. Chemistry is just a struggle in itself…going to go to office hours and tutoring, to try to get some help. I talked with my sister yesterday after I found out my grade, and she reminded me how I’m still learning how to study and that it’s okay if I don’t get good grades at first…praying that I’ll have the perseverance and diligence to work hard and try my best to understand. And to trust in the Lord, that He will help me through it. Love you all!

    • Ebony

      Sarah! I’m praying because I’m having this same problem right now! I just got my first Chem test back and I didn’t pass! I only have two more test and they make up 70 of our grade. I’m praying about dropping and taking it again next semester! Soooo I KNOW what this is like! Don’t give up friend! Sometimes we have to work a little harder than others to achieve things! But God will give you strength and wisdom because HE is strength and wisdom! Praying you prosper! Keep me posted ❤️

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Sarah, we are praying for you today – for wisdom, patience and perseverance in your studies. We are so glad to have you as a part of this community, and we appreciate you sharing your journey with us. <3 – Abby, The SRT Team

    • Tori Rose

      I know the chem struggle well. The thing that motivated me to try my best on it was to think about how complex God created the things that we can’t even see! The subject is one of my least favourites but God wanted to ise it to show me something about his nature. I pray that God would do the same for you and that it would encourage you! (Also Khan academy has great videos on chem which I found immensely helpful!)

  • Ouch. This one was hard to read. My over abundance has been heavy on my heart lately after finishing Jen Hatmaker’s book, “Seven.” I’m finding it hard to define exactly what radical living should look like. I have space in my budget to give money, but as a married, working college student my read idolized category is time. Does this mean I should give my time since I want to hoard it? Or do I simply have too little to give right now? I have tried being intentional to give what I do have – I am blessed to have a nice apartment that has been a safe place to house many friends who need a place to stay and late night soul talks for younger women who need a safe space. Even then though, I wonder if giving hospitality is self-serving sometimes as it also gives me joy. It’s a hard balance to give sacrificially while also finding joy in the giving. I don’t have much money but I know so many people who have so much less… I’m struggling to re-direct my life to use this abundance for good. Anyone else struggling with giving outside of merely financial categories? How have you dealt with this?

    • Liv

      Whoops, typo there. I meant my MOST idolized category. (That’s what I get for typing on my phone!)

    • Erin B

      Hey Liv, I quite relate. I don’t have answers for either of us, but do know that God’s purposes for us as individuals vary– we can only give to others what he has given us. There was a large period of time before I was married that I just couldn’t give much financially other than tithing, money wasn’t the asset that God had gifted me with. I used to feel shame over this, but eventually reached a place of knowing that giving my best was all that God desired of me– during that season, it was time and emotional/spiritual encouragement volunteering with HS students. It was so clear that God had designed for me to give this way too, because it impacted and shaped my heart so much. I think we need to remember that giving in obedience should cause us to feel good– not about ourselves or what we are “doing”, but in a sense a freedom and joy to share what God has blessed us with (especially if we don’t really have anything else). :) I’m still working on this a lot in the area of sharing my gifts, because that feels scary to me– I think we all have parts of ourselves that God simply wants us to be vulnerable with others about, that are hard. Praying for you to figure out what yours might be– welcoming people into your home and heart is huge, so I hope you won’t discredit that if God is using it and it brings you joy! <3

  • churchmouse

    Just want to take a moment to thank all of you who so faithfully post – your words of encouragement, challenge and insight lift me up every day. Each one of you (along with all of the SRT team) are such a blessing every single day.

    • Tina

      Thank you too, Churchmouse… a great blessing with your words of wisdom, encouragement and love…
      Lets keep spreading/sharing the love…!
      Hugs sister…xxxx

    • DebbieinAZ

      I agree. I feel the same way. All of your words of encouragement bless me and make me think every day. I feel so blessed to be in this community. I always look forward to reading Churchmouse, Tina, B, and so many others comments. I’m usually a day behind, and I like it because I get more of everyone’s post. I pray for each and every one of you ladies that post and read here. May Gods blessings and peace and wisdom be your constant companions. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

  • Oh so good yet again!! Each day is exactly what we need to here!! Help us Lord to see where you want us to share!!!

  • I love all these thoughts today. I also noticed in reading that when Amos was told to stop he says in vs 14– I was not a prophet rather I was just a herdsman and I took care of sycamore trees. In the Acts scripture we see that they observed the boldness of peter and john and realized they were uneducated and untrained men for they were amazed and recognized they had been with Jesus. They too say we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard. This once again shows that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We look at all the blessings like Tina said both monetary and physical and spiritual and we share what He has given to us. It doesn’t matter our background, our culture, our status in society. He uses all who are willing and he calls even the seemingly uneducated and untrained.

  • Jessica cebc

    “The blessings of God were never meant to be store up like grain.” – It’s so easy to collect our blessings. God help me to share and use them.

  • Diane Huntsman

    “God’s intention for blessing is never individual; He always has a broader blessing in view.”
    Such a GOOD thought!! I’m a blessing hoarder, this was eye opening! I tithe and have the misconception that that’s enough.. my eyes are opened and I’m challenged in a big way today! Thanks girls, you did it again! Humbled me and made see clearly that I need to expand my sharing of all the blessings I receive!

  • Tina, thank you for this! The thought that I have been hoarding my blessings makes me cringe, but I am so glad you chose that particular word. Lord, let me share so that my abundance flows to others who are equally as deserving, and let me not hoard that which you have given me so freely. May my abundance serve only to radiate outward and bless those around me. And remind me of this, Lord, even when my blessings are fewer: You will always bless me with enough to share. Amen.

    • Christina D.

      “And remind me of this, Lord, even when my blessings are fewer: You will always bless me with enough to share.” Such a conviction for me right now! My husband and I have been incredibly blessed financially throughout our marriage and the last 1.5 years or so a lot of things have changed. We are basically on a spending freeze aside from ultimate essentials (food and household necessities). This actually does not bother me but lately I have felt a conviction to give and feel afraid because I don’t have the same wealth from which to do it. It was easy to give when there was plenty to go around and plenty extra! I think God is challenging me in this area to trust Him and your words, Kay, have been a gentle reminder of that. Even on a strict budget I am RICH compared to so many and still have plenty to share although it may look differently than before. Lord show me new ways and opportunities to give in this season. Give me confidence and trust to act in giving when I feel your direction. You are a God of abundance. May I never be complacent in all You have blessed me with.

  • Wow. This is truth …. but an oh so undeniably challenging one!

    I love this line…’ God’s intention of blessing is never individual; He always has a broader blessing in view….’
    You know, I was even thinking, not just in terms of monetary… but health, if you have good health, help someone who is unable due to ill health. Joy. If you are filled with joy, share it. Grace, my God, if you have been shown Grace, for goodness same, be gracious to those around you that require a little grace in their life. Mercy.. When we know in our hearts, that we have been blessed by our merciful Father God, that mercy is ours to share, to give out…all these things and more… when we have been give that goodness, that provision, that blessing, we must/should not keep it to ourselves… we must/should share…. Not all of us have big bucks, and it may seem impossible to share the little….
    BUT GOD….

    Oh But God…
    He knows, and will know our hearts… He will restore whatever you have given… double… this is the business He is in.. He blesses, you bless, He blesses you.. right back with more!! I love it!

    Lord forgive me when I have hoarded what you have given me, when you have shown me mercy and I have insulted you by not showing mercy to my fellow man, when you have been gracious and I, I have betrayed you. Forgive me Lord God, for the things that I have done, wrongly, in response to your goodness to me Lord God.. I’m sorry..
    Help me now, to walk in the purpose you have for my life… and to be a better steward of the blessings you give me each and every day.. .
    Thank you Lord God for everything.. Thank you. In the mighty and most blessed name of Jesus, I pray.. . Amen.

    Blessings Sisters.. wherever you’re at.. Blessings…xxxx

    • candacejo

      I simply love this ♥ and the lesson!

    • Kay

      Tina, see below. I tried to reply to you but it didn’t post that way. Thank you for blessing us with your thoughts!

    • Laura

      I love all your examples! Thank you!

    • Robin W.

      Amen. ❤️

    • churchmouse

      Yes, Tina! Thank you for the reminder to look beyond our material blessings but to share all the good things He’s given us. Today I pray to look beyond my checkbook and share a good attitude, a helping hand, feet that walk around my neighborhood with prayer on my lips. You’ve put out a good challenge, Tina. Bless you for it

    • Brittany

      Love this. Thank you!!! ❤️

    • Cynthia

      Thank you for your thoughts! We are so blessed and have the privilege to bless others!

    • Kerrie

      This was a blessing to read. Pouring out monetary and non monetary blessings are just as important. Thank you

    • Tricia C

      Thank you for that addition to today’s devotion Tina. Blessings to you as you bless others.

    • Christina D.

      “Help me now, to walk in the purpose you have for my life… and to be a better steward of the blessings you give me each and every day.” Love this Tina and praying this wholeheartedly with you. May we be an outpouring of ALL the blessings God has given us.

    • Elle

      Amen!!

    • DebbieinAZ

      amen! Good word. Praying Gods blessings on all of us, and challenging us to give them away! ❤️

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