Seek Me and Live… part c
What did the Holy Spirit show me when he had me study Amos 5 so many years ago and what has he continued to affirm in my spirit? (This is not the exhortation I gave in church then, but the result of the study I have been doing through the years following that event.)
- . If we seek God we will find Him…(Jer_29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.KJV)
- . We are not to seek him not Bethel…Verse 5. AMP Bible (seek not [the golden calf at] Bethel ) Bethel is traditionally the ‘house of God’ why are we not to search for God there… in Amos’ time it had become Beth-aven a corrupted house of God, the AMP Bible (Bethel [house of God] shall become Beth-aven [house of vanity, emptiness, falsity, and futility] and come to nothing..)
- .We are not to enter into Gilgal…verse 5 b… some references refer to it as a circle of stones others a fortification a place of safety, the Amp Bible.. (Nor enter [idolatrous] Gilgal… Gilgal shall surely go into captivity and exile,)
- . We are not to pass by Beersheba…Verse 5c… this was a place of oaths, AMP Bible (pass not over to [the idols of] Beersheba)
What is the take away here, God wants us to earnestly seek ‘HIM’ not a place where we gather like the church building or to search for him in those places where we made oaths and promises or run to our place of safety, He and He alone is to be our refuge and safety (Ps.91)
This is not to say we shouldn’t go to these places but they are not to become our substitute for God through the comfort we find in the rituals and fellowship we find there. These places are temporary and will come to ruin, God never changes and is eternal.
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]. Amp
What can we learn from this verse? Perhaps we should see what has traditionally happened to the ‘house of Joseph’ when they didn’t seek God but went their own way…for this study let us look at what happened at Ai the first battle Joshua had after the victory at Jericho …
Joshua 7:4 So about three thousand Israelites went up there, but they fled before the men of Ai. Amp
What has happened between these two battles, God fought the battle of Jericho for them now they are running from a small town, what on earth has happened?
Joshua 7:1 But the Israelites committed a trespass in regard to the devoted things; for Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the things devoted [for destruction]. And the anger of the Lord burned against Israel. Amp
We find the answer in Joshua 6:
18 But you, keep yourselves from the accursed and devoted things, lest when you have devoted it [to destruction], you take of the accursed thing, and so make the camp of Israel accursed and trouble it. 19 But all the silver and gold and vessels of bronze and iron are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord. 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. They have taken some of the things devoted [for destruction]; they have stolen, and lied, and put them among their own baggage.12 That is why the Israelites could not stand before their enemies, but fled before them; they are accursed and have become devoted [for destruction]. I will cease to be with you unless you destroy the accursed [devoted] things among you. Amp
They had been instructed to not to take things from the city as all the silver and gold was to be go to the Lord’s treasury, lest it brings a curse on the children of Israel, but one man, Achan’s coveting that which had been set aside for the Lord… now let us see what happens.
7:19 And Joshua said to Achan, My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and make confession to Him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.20 And Achan answered Joshua, In truth, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and this have I done:21When I saw among the spoils an attractive mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. Behold, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath. 22 So Joshua sent messengers, who ran to the tent, and behold, the spoil was hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath .23And they took them from the tent and brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and laid them out before the Lord.24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan son of Zerah, and the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had; and they brought them to the Valley of Achor.25 And Joshua said, Why have you brought trouble on us? The Lord will trouble you this day. And all Israel stoned him and those with him with stones, and afterward burned their bodies with fire. Amp
Here we see what happened when one man in the camp disobeyed the instruction given to the people, there is also another lesson as well if we go back and read the beginning of the chapter we find also that the leadership forgot a very important step, they sent out spies to scout out Ai, but because it was so small and they had become cocky from the defeat of Jericho they forgot to seek God before they set out to take the town, for some reason they forgot that God was the one who fought for them in Jericho.
If the leaders had sought God before the battle they would have found out about the sin in the camp and also would have had proper instruction on how to take Ai.
The more I have studied the journey of the Israelites through scripture do I see examples of the consequences we all suffer when we choose to do it our way and not to listen to the Holy Spirit and search the Scripture daily to see what God would have us do.
The things that sets the followers of Jesus apart from other religions are, God redeems us by the blood of his Son Jesus from the Law of Sin and Death, then he write his law in our heart, and gave us the scripture as an example and instruction from which if we study, pray and listen to the Holy Spirit and those that God gifts to oversee us, we can live successful victorious lives in Him.
Other religions (gods) require their followers work and make sacrifices to pay for their own sin, they can never come to place of redemption, they can only hope that somehow the can do enough good to balance out the evil in their lives.
Matt.36 Teacher, which [e]kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?]37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).38 This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.40 These two commandments [f]sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets. Amp
Amazing the Law that is written on our heart is love, we are to love God with all our heart and our neighbour as ourselves; is it any wonder this very word has been distorted in our culture to the point we no longer know how to love anyone.
In their prosperity the children of Israel have become arrogant and self-serving; we see this in what Amos continues to say…
7 You who turn justice into [the bitterness of] wormwood and cast righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) down to the ground,8 Seek Him Who made the [cluster of stars called] Pleiades and [the constellation] Orion, Who turns the shadow of death or deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, Who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the face of the earth—the Lord is His name—9 Who causes sudden destruction to flash forth upon the strong so that destruction comes upon the fortress.10 They hate him who reproves in the [city] gate [holding him as an abomination and rejecting his rebuke], and they abhor him who speaks uprightly.11 Therefore because you tread upon the poor and take from him exactions of wheat, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.12 For I know how manifold are your transgressions and how mighty are your sins—you who afflict the [uncompromisingly] righteous, who take a bribe, and who turn aside the needy in the [court of the city] gate from their right.13 Therefore he who is prudent will keep silence in such a time, for it is an evil time.
What is God’s response to this behavior? Let us read on…
14 Seek (inquire for and require) good and not evil that you may live, and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said.15 Hate the evil and love the good and establish justice in the [court of the city’s] gate. It may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph [the northern kingdom].16 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord: There shall be wailing in all the broad ways, and in all the streets they shall say, Alas! Alas! And they shall call the farmers to mourning and such as are skilled in lamentation to wailing.17 And in all vineyards there shall be wailing, for I will pass through the midst of you, says the Lord.18 Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you want the day of the Lord? It is darkness and not light;19 It is as if a man fled from a lion and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned with his hand against the wall and a serpent bit him.
20 Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light? Even very dark with no brightness in it?
21 I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will not smell a savor or take delight in your solemn assemblies.22 Though you offer Me your burnt offerings and your cereal offerings, I will not accept them, neither will I look upon the peace or thank offerings of your fatted beasts.23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not listen to the melody of your harps.24 But let justice run down like waters and righteousness as a mighty and ever-flowing stream.25 Did you bring to Me sacrifices and cereal offerings during those forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?26 [No] but [instead of bringing Me the appointed sacrifices] you carried about the tent of your king Sakkuth and Kaiwan [names for the gods of the planet Saturn], your images of your star-god which you made for yourselves [and you will do so again].27 Therefore I will cause you to go into exile beyond Damascus, says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts. Amp
I wonder how many of us have become just like these Israelites, so comfortable and smug with our abundance and comfort?
Have we allowed the secular values of our Western culture to cloud the Gospel message and Jesus’ instruction on what a real life in Him is all about?
Have we become arrogant, self-serving and judgmental?
We all are now suffering a downturn in our economies and many are fearful because they have put their trust in money and their own abilities. It really makes one wonder how our forefathers with so much less lived so well. Maybe their faith in God and community had something to do with it. Maybe they didn’t need so much stuff, they truly had God and each other.
Has much of this come upon us, because we have forgotten the source of everything, and that as members of Christ’s family we are to serve and care for each other and our neighbours, not just our safe little social circle, that agrees with every word we spout. I wonder?
In verses 26 and 27 God tell Israel that because you have raise up your own idols which you made for yourselves, he tells them he will cause, (it may be better said he would allow them, because he has lifted their protection) to into exile. I am addressing this article to those who profess to be part of the body of Christ, let us consider have we made idols for ourselves of our pride and selfishness, of our great knowledge and skills, of our own abilities, has the self and all its lust become an idol? Do we even see the need next door anymore?
Do we walk by the homeless on the street and thank God we are not like them. The fact is many of us could join them if just a member in the family gets sick or loses a job and we no longer have the means to supply our needs anymore. Where is our smug self-sufficiency now. We need Jesus and each other that is why we are called a body.