6 Seek the LORD and live, lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel,7 O you who turn justice to wormwood and cast down righteousness to the earth!8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night,who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth,the LORD is his name;9 who makes destruction flash forth against the strong, so that destruction comes upon the fortress.10 They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks the truth.11 Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him,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 many are your transgressions and how great are your sins– you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate.13 Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time.14 Seek 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 evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate;it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
Amos opens with an exhortation that we all need reminding of, most likely each and every day; Seek the Lord and live...How seminal this is to our life, how primary in importance is this command, seek the Lord and live.
Then a hint towards the major theme of the book, social injustice, in v.7, ‘O you who turn justice to wormwood and cast down righteousness to the earth!’. God is powerful enough to form stars and to save His people, strong enough to call for the waters of the sea, but also righteous enough to ensure judgement against that which He decrees should not be.
So, the cause, the curse, the cure; social injustice and taking advantage of people (v.10-11a), leads to not enjoying the fruits of labor (v.11), and God is always aware of the wrong we do, we never sin in secret (v.12), but, there is always a cure to our human-ness;
14 Seek 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 evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
For us, it may not be social injustice that is our cause, it may be a whole host of things;
…it could be getting angry and shouting like a red-faced maniac when someone pulls a dangerous move on you on the road.
…it may be the idolatry of career and money.
…it may be engaging in activities during the week which you would never tell anyone about at the weekend at church.
…it may be anything that actively puts distance in the relationship between you and God.
The curse will always be the same, that very distance.
God loves you, yes.
God wants to be in a personal, loving, intimate relationship with you, yes, but, He will never force this on you, forced love is not love, just as forced freedom is not freedom.
Reassuringly, the cure is always the same, it has always been the same, and it always will be the same…seek good, and not evil, that you may live;…
Now, post-birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, this is where we find the ‘good’.
Seek Jesus and live.
Seek good and live, seek Him and live. He is God’s chosen and anointed One, sent to take away the sins of the world, no, the entire cosmos, everything we can possibly see with the world’s most powerful telescope, and them some…seek Jesus and live.
How encouraging to know that whatever our cause is, despite the curse being the same, that the cure is greater, more powerful, move loving, more willing, and more able. Let us seek Jesus, and not evil, that we may live!