SEEK THE LORD AND LIVE
A Call To Repentance
God's judgment was coming to Israel unless they turned from their sin. Amos shows the severe nature of the judgment and its imminence. A lament, which is a type of poetry, is taken up for the house of Israel. The lament begins as if Israel is dead for she will rise no more. She is alone, helpless, and vulnerable. Israel’s allies will not come to her aid, but it is much worse than that because her God will refuse to come and raise her up. Israel has been warned numerous times, but she continues to forsake the Lord, and the result will be that she will meet an enemy that will destroy her completely. The Lord is so gracious, and he calls the people to repent and seek him so that they will live. Repentance was not to be a religious charade or formula because just showing up at traditional shrines. Repentance is not just feeling sorry for sin or simply following a formula; it is a Holy Spirit fueled change of desire. Seeking the Lord is the way to find life and Israel's failure to do this would result in God consuming his people in fiery judgment. God mentions some of Israel's offenses such as injustice and unrighteousness. God is the creator, and he has no rival. Everything has its being in him. The Lord made the constellations of Pleiades and Orion, commands darkness and light, and controls the waters of the sea. He is the mighty God, enthroned above all of creation, and he brings swift judgment upon evildoers even destroying the strongest of fortresses. Amos lays out some charges against Israel. The people hated anyone who would speak a word of condemnation because of their sin, and they abhorred anyone who would speak the truth. Israel trampled the poor through unjust gains building luxury homes for themselves. However, the Lord was clear that these wicked leaders would not live in these homes of stone nor would they enjoy the wine from the vineyards they had planted. Israel's transgressions were great in quantity and gravity. People would only get justice if they paid for it which eliminated the needy. It was an evil time, and if someone dared to speak against the people's sin, they placed themselves in great peril. The call to repentance returns as Amos tells the people to seek good and renounce evil because of the Lord's presence and his commands. God's judgment would bring despair on Israel until everyone took up a lament. God was not in the midst of his people, and when he passed through them, it would result in a disaster and suffering.
The Day Of The Lord
The maledictions begin with those who think they desire the day of the Lord. This would not be a day of judgment on the pagan; it would be darkness and harm for the people of Israel. The day of the Lord would result in damage and destruction. The graphic depictions begin to help the people understand that God acts resolutely toward sin and no one escapes judgment. The people think they will avoid disaster, but they would meet a disastrous end for the day of the Lord is darkness, gloom, and death. God addresses the people's unacceptable worship practices. Israel's worship gatherings were despised by the Lord. Formal external worship does not please God. God would not receive their unacceptable offerings. Even the music was condemned, and God declared that he would not listen to it. Instead of elaborate liturgies, God wanted justice and righteousness to prevail in the land. A rhetorical question called attention to Israel’s failures of the past. During the forty years of wilderness wandering Israel did bring sacrifices, but they were unacceptable. Israel's idolatry would come at great expense, and they would be sent into exile by the Lord himself.
Things To Consider:
- Have you ever lamented over your sin? Why or why not?
- What are ways that religious formality is misused today?
- What are ways that justice is subverted today?
- Why does God act resolutely toward sin?
- Why is God's greatness the foundation for worship?
- Why is wealth dangerous?
- Why don't Christians fear the day of the Lord?
- How do we offer false worship today?
- Is there anything you need to repent of today?