SEEK ME AND LIVE
Lord God, teach me how to live for You. Show me Your ways in Your Word.
Read Amos 5:1–17
A Lament and Call to Repentance
5 Hear this word, Israel, this lament I take up concerning you:
2 “Fallen is Virgin Israel,
never to rise again,
deserted in her own land,
with no one to lift her up.”
3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Israel:
“Your city that marches out a thousand strong
will have only a hundred left;
your town that marches out a hundred strong
will have only ten left.”
4 This is what the Lord says to Israel:
“Seek me and live;
5 do not seek Bethel,
do not go to Gilgal,
do not journey to Beersheba.
For Gilgal will surely go into exile,
and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.”
6 Seek the Lord and live,
or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire;
it will devour them,
and Bethel will have no one to quench it.
7 There are those who turn justice into bitterness
and cast righteousness to the ground.
8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
who turns midnight into dawn
and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the Lord is his name.
9 With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold
and brings the fortified city to ruin.
10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court
and detest the one who tells the truth.
11 You levy a straw tax on the poor
and impose a tax on their grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
you will not live in them;
though you have planted lush vineyards,
you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your offenses
and how great your sins.
There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times,
for the times are evil.
14 Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.
15 Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy
on the remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says:
“There will be wailing in all the streets
and cries of anguish in every public square.
The farmers will be summoned to weep
and the mourners to wail.
17 There will be wailing in all the vineyards,
for I will pass through your midst,”
says the Lord.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIf everyone in your culture and your church went against God, would you want to still live for him?
In this third message from Amos, he confronts the nation of Israel for their lack of justice. Instead of caring for the poor, they have taken advantage of them. They have looked after themselves, but they have not looked after each other (7,11–13).
God takes injustice very seriously. He sees it and is ready to judge it. The nation will be decimated by God’s judgment (1–3). The God who created the cosmos is powerful enough to pour out judgment on sin (8–10). The result of God’s judgment will be wailing in the streets and vineyards because when God judges, it hurts (16,17).
This message feels so heavy and hard to hear. And yet three times God issues an invitation to individuals within the nation: “Seek me and live” (4), “Seek the Lord and live” (6), “Seek good, not evil, that you may live” (14). God wants anyone who will listen to him to love good and not evil. He wants people who will be responsive to him. For that remnant of his nation, he will be a God of mercy (15).
It is so hard to stand out from the crowd and to swim against the tide. In what ways might God be calling on you to be different in our times of great injustice, to seek him and to live?
God, give me the strength to stand for You no matter what.
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