A good shepherd leads his sheep to pasture. He cares for their every need. He does not drive the sheep with the shepherds crook, but rather uses it to correct the wayward.
Leadership, at any level, should know and follow the example of the Good Shepherd. Failure to do so leaves the sheep without guidance and in danger. Whenever leaders lose their concern for the people they are supposed to lead and concern themselves with themselves, then the people are in trouble.
Ancient Israel provides our first example of this tragedy. Amos addressed the nation with the following words:
Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria, the notable men of the first of the nations, to whom the house of Israel comes! – Amos 6:1
The nation of Israel, during the time of Uzziah, knew a time of great prosperity. As then, so now today. It is always a great danger when the leadership is focused on selfish desires rather than the needs of the people. With leadership asleep at the helm, the people will be lulled into a false sense of security. Priorities in life are turned upside down. The things offered by the world become the focus, rather than the things of heaven.
It was that way in Israel, and it is so in America today. Amos goes on to describe the condition of the people in these words:
Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music, who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! – Amos 6:4-6
A self-indulgent leadership leads to a self-indulgent people. The combination spells trouble of any nation. It is a deadly combination. It is one that is being played out in our own country. As long as the people’s bellies are full and they experience prosperity, and there are no leaders to whom the people can look for guidance, then the nation, so afflicted, teeters on the brink of disaster.
Any nation, so prospering with material things, being so secure of body, so careless with the time allowed, will never see the foundations of their nation crumbling. They will never take note of the coming disaster. They will never feel the trembling of the earth – a sure warning. Amos preached two years before the earthquake, yet the people, so led, did not heed the warning.
Amos tried to warn the people by telling them to look at the nations around them who had fallen victim to the same deceit. If America is to endure for long, we had better look at the history of the nations before us who have suffered the same end as that of Israel.
I would point you to two nations in history whose people, because of poor leadership, were seduced into tolerating the present plight of things until disaster struck. Examine the reign of two kings, one of England and the other of France. Charles I of England, Louis the 16th of France . Both of them were puffed up with pride and greed, supported a sovereign monarchy, the feudal system – a system Americans are well on the road of knowing. It was a system in which the monarch, the judiciary, the nobility and the clergy, became so corrupt that there was no one that the people could look to for relief when the bread they earned was eaten by the leadership. They were left with nothing but the burden of heavy taxes and what little crumbs were left. People may be ruled as long as they get the crumbs from the rich man’s table, but deprive them of the crumbs and they will rise up and blood will flow.
The bloody revolts of the masses in England and France ought to provide us a lesson for our own nation. I believe our present leadership fears such a revolt, hence the need to disarm, as did Hitler in Germany the people, prompted by those who ignored the law of the land for what appears to solve a problem for a moment, but never does.
My concern for our land are based on the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament and upon the study of history. Amos had a direct word from God. Mine is indirect, though still from God. It is the written Word of God which reveals the will of God for men who lead and those who follow.
The response of the leadership of Israel to the message of Amos may be the response of those who read this message of heartfelt concern for the people of America. I pray it will not be so. When Amos went to preach this warning to Bethel, the kings chapel was there. Amaziah, the priest, cried out:
“Amos has conspired against you [ the king, Jeroboam] in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said, “‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land.'” And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.” – Amos 7:10-13
This is the mentality of the majority of America’s leadership, and the people are suffering for it.
The cry of Amos for justice in the land was ignored. He was a nobody, a simple herdsman from the hills of Tekoa; never having been to seminary or college, but called of God to warn the people. When nothing changed on the part of the people, and the leadership remained unmoved, then, the Assyrian came down like a wolf on the flock of Israel. She became a victim in 586 B.C., followed by the same end for Judah in 722.
Like Amos, I am not a son of a prophet, but called of God. I pray for our leadership that they may be brought to repentance and lead the people in righteousness. The failure here always results in the difference between repentance and revolution, between blessing and blood. My plea is for repentance and blessing, because the death knell of every nation comes when the leadership promotes godlessness rather than godliness.
America will be no exception.
When the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch.