Spiritual Declension

Title: Spiritual Declension

Bible Book: Amos 6 : 1

Author: Tom Hayes

Subject: Revival; Judgment; Sin; America



There are many illustrations of our theme throughout the Bible. Whereas David’s sad fall may well be the most familiar account of the Old Testament, the far country experience of “The Prodigal Son” and the faith relapse of John Mark are at the top of the New Testament list.

Although this chapter records the religious plunge of a nation, all the lessons are very applicable to our individual lives. Through the revelations of these verses, we are reminded of how people depart from God, how a holy God feels about it, and the terrible consequences of spiritual declension.

I. The Downward Road

The first subtle indication of departure from God is a false peace, a strange “ease” (6:1) that tranquilizes all sensitivity to Him. Interestingly, with this passivity comes a measure of self-confidence, or a false “trust” in objects other than God (6:1). Before long, a spirit of vain conceit, a false esteem of self, overwhelms the life. Lulled to believe that judgment is “far away” (6:3), a false lifestyle, which often involves various degrees of corruption (see 6:4-6; wine, women, and song), is pursued and developed, bringing divine judgment even nearer. Eventually, the road always deadends in captivity and defeat. (see 6:7)

II. The Divine Response

Leaving the straight and narrow road of holiness and obedience for the broad way that leads downward does not go without notice. The omniscient God sees it all! As the thrice Holy One views sin upon the earth, and, more particularly, as He views the rebellion of His own people, He has something to say about it! Be assured, He speaks with an authority only found in His vast person.

Amos writes, “The Lord God hath sworn by Himself, saith the Lord the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city and all that is therein.” (6:8)

III. The Destructive Reward

The prophet concludes the chapter with a brief insight concerning the coming trauma. The report of “ten men in one house” (6:9) more than suggests that many will flee for refuge from their oppressors. The gruesome pictures of starvation and death (see 6:10) also indicate a lengthy besiege by the enemy. (cf. 2 Kings 17:5)

Because “the Lord commandeth” (6:11), the great and small alike will experience humiliation (see 6:11-14). What was true for Israel then is true for us today: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pro. 16:18).


Those of us who constantly and extensively travel on our highway systems know there are some roads that are to be avoided. Consequently, to reduce tension, to save time, or for our vehicle’s sake, we purposefully choose other routes. Likewise, the way of “Spiritual Declension” is a road that we must definitely shun.

The Shepherd’s “paths of righteousness” (Psalms 23:3) are always the best paths! Wise are the people who follow in His steps! If, perhaps, we have become sidetracked, may God help us to return to “the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

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