The Lord God has sworn by himself, declares the LORD, the God of hosts: “I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds, and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.”
God has strong emotions. He is, however, not controlled by them. His emotions are always based on that which is good and pleasing or that which is evil and displeasing to Him. Today’s verse states that He abhors “the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds.”
What is pride? At the core, pride is reliance on anyone or anything but God. That also includes not taking His word to heart and wholly trusting in what He has said. He had pronounced a coming judgment on Israel; yet, they didn’t take that to heart. Instead, they wanted Amos to stop prophesying and preaching against them (see Amos 7:16).
There are two statements in this chapter that expressed their pride. First of all, we read: “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria” (v. 1). Their security wasn’t in God, but in their own physical geography and circumstances.
Secondly, we read God’s rhetorical question: “Are you better than these kingdoms?” (v. 2). They believed that other nations deserved God’s righteous judgment, but not their nation. How does that relate to you and me?
God Himself must be our security, whether our circumstances are favorable or failing. Also, we must never think that we’re better than others. Paul wrote that we were “by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:3). We can only boast in God’s. Any other boast is prideful.