Seek Me and Live (Part A)
Read Amos 5…
Years ago, I was led by the Spirit to share this exhortation with church fellowships I belonged to: It was based on Amos 5: 1-7, the warning was not heeded and much heartache followed. In the years since I have often wondered what was missing why couldn’t people hear? So let us take a look at God is saying in these and other verses that were pertinent to this exhortation to Seek God and Live…. Amos 5 A call to repentance, that the prophet Amos gave to the house of Israel, many years ago the Holy Spirit quicken this chapter to my heart I had to read it aloud for a week at the end of the week some of the verses came alive to me, with this message.
I was reminded of this again when visiting with Eddie and Sue Hyatt , they suggested I write it down if I could remember it, today as I read the chapter I feel a leading to do an overview of much more of the chapter. I’ll use a combination of the Amp version and the NKJV translations for the purposes of this article and Strong’s concordance as it is the only OT concordance I have.
Amos 5:1 Hear this word which I take up concerning you in lamentation, O house of Israel:
2 The Virgin of Israel has fallen; she shall no more rise; she lies cast down and forsaken on her land; there is no one to raise her up.
3 For thus says the Lord God: The city that went forth a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went forth a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel.
4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: Seek Me [inquire for and of Me and require Me as you require food] and you shall live!
5 But seek not [the golden calf at] Bethel nor enter into [idolatrous] Gilgal, and pass not over to [the idols of] Beersheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity and exile, and Bethel [house of God] shall become Beth-aven [house of vanity, emptiness, falsity, and futility] and come to nothing.
6 Seek the Lord [inquire for and of Him and require Him] and you shall live, lest He rush down like fire upon the house of Joseph [representing the ten tribes] and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel [the center of their idol hopes].
7 You who turn justice into [the bitterness of] wormwood and cast righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) down to the ground, AMP Bible
In my spirit I hear again the admonition for us the church as the Spirit weeps, like Israel we have fallen and are cast down, but we are not forsaken as the Spirit is brooding over us. Once we went out in strength and left a hundred now we go out and only leave ten…
What is the state of Israel at this time when God has Amos proclaim this lament over them? What is happening that has called for this call for repentance?
Amos prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam II of Israel it was a time when Israel was able to consolidate its borders and gain control of main trade routes and because of this had become very prosperous. It would seem to be a time when God had really blessed them. Why then is he having his prophet proclaim a lament over them? Let us see if there are any clues in what Amos tells us…
7 “For those [shall be consumed] who turn justice into wormwood (bitterness) And cast righteousness down to the earth.”
10 They hate the one who reprimands [the unrighteous] in the [court held at the city] gate [regarding him as unreasonable and rejecting his reprimand],
11 Therefore, because you impose heavy rent on the poor And demand a tribute (food-tax) of grain from them, And they detest him who speaks [the truth] with integrity and honesty.
12 For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great (shocking, innumerable), You who distress the righteous and take bribes, And turn away from the poor in the [court of the city] gate [depriving them of justice].
13 Therefore, he who is prudent and has insight will keep silent at such a [corrupt and evil] time, for it is an evil time [when people will not listen to truth and will disregard those of good character]. AMP
It would seem from these verses that God’s people had become prideful, selfish and unrighteous, hating correction and justice. They reject truth and those of integrity and honesty, would this by any chance be present in today’s church, which is considered God’s people?
21 “I hate, I despise and reject your [sacred] feasts, And I do not take delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 “Even though you offer Me your burnt offerings and your grain offerings,I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fattened animals.
23 “Take the noise of your songs away from Me [they are an irritation]! I shall not even listen to the melody of your harps.
24 “But let justice run down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream [flowing abundantly].
25 “Did you bring Me sacrifices and grain offerings during those forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? [Certainly not!] 26 You carried along your king Sikkuth and Kayyun [your man- made gods of Saturn], your images of your star-god which you made for yourselves [but you brought Me none of the appointed sacrifices]. 27 Therefore, I will send you to go into exile far beyond Damascus,” says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.
God goes on to tell them that he hates their religious offerings and rituals. Do we have practices that make God unhappy, have we brought our man-made doctrines and habits into his sacred assembly?
(Let us take a few minutes and think on this question. I will continue this tomorrow)