Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come!
A Shining City Upon a Hill
A shining city upon a hill. That is how President Reagan described the United States. He saw this nation as “God-blessed, teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace.” He envisioned it being “a beacon for all who must have freedom.”
A shining city upon a hill. The leaders of ancient Judah and Israel also viewed their kingdoms that way. They thought of Mount Zion and Mount Gerizim, their capital cities, as pieces of heaven on earth. The problem was these leaders cared only about their own comfort and cared nothing for the poor and oppressed among them.
Those of us who live in the wealthiest parts of the world can easily fall into the same trap. We can become so concerned with our own comfort that we have no concern for the less fortunate all around us. The warning given by the ancient prophet Amos might well be aimed at modern-day men and women like us. Woe to us who live in luxury and are indifferent to the fate of others. Woe to us who are addicted to feeling good but could not care less about the world’s moral rot and ruin. Woe to us because what this world offers will be taken from us.
For all our self-centeredness and selfishness, let us turn to God for forgiveness. And, thankfully, there we find it. Our God has graciously freed us from sin and death. Through faith in Christ Jesus, who died for our “me-first” focus, God transports us into a spiritual kingdom brimming with the overwhelming peace of forgiveness, the rock-solid hope of the resurrection, and eternal pleasures at his right hand. Through his Word, God transforms us into something new.
You are a shining city upon a hill. As your life beams with God’s kaleidoscopic gifts of grace, you light up the world. Shine on that those who hunger for freedom may find it in Jesus.
Lord God, fill me with the light and life of your Son that his love may shine through my every thought, word, and action. Amen.