#DailyDevotion Seek The Lord. Do Good. Don’t Say It Isn’t My Job.
Amos 5:6–7, 10–15 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! 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 the prophet is addressing the Israelites who had abandoned the ways of the Lord. The Lord had given statutes, precepts and commandments that were to guide them in treating everyone fairly. But they were not following these, therefore the Lord was about to pour out his wrath upon them. He pleads with them through the prophet, “Seek the Lord and live!” To seek the Lord was to be in his word, hear it, learn it, trust it and to do it.
But they were not. Instead, they took justice and righteousness and treated it with contempt. They did not treat one another fairly or equitably. They bribed judges and judges took bribes. The poor were treated with contempt and the rich were treated more favorably in the courts of their time. Not only in the courts were the poor treated unfairly but they were being taxed when they should not have been. Their needs were turned aside. Collections were taken to take care of the poor, the widows and orphans and the foreigners and yet these were not being distributed but rather were used up by those for whom it was not intended.
On top of that, no one would receive rebukes or corrections or calls for repentance from God’s word, his law. They hated those who would call their evil deeds into account. Perhaps they said things like, “Don’t judge me. Only God can judge me.” Does that sound familiar? The Lord counsels the just who trust his word, perhaps this is a good time not to say anything for it is an evil time. Maybe we might take heed of this as well. Because of Israel’s wickedness he warns them they will not use or keep their wealth gained through unrighteousness. He warns them to turn back to him, trust him and do what is right.
Perhaps we too should take head to Amos’ warning to Israel. We should make sure we have just judges and fair laws. We should make sure the poor, the widow, the orphan and the foreigner are taken care of from the wealth the Lord has given us and not spurn those who are asking for a hand-out. Is not the Lord of Heaven and Earth going to judge the whole earth by his righteousness? Therefore seek the Lord. He is found in Jesus of Nazareth. He does not want us to perish in judgment but rather we turn from our selfish ways, trust Jesus to take care of us and for us to take care of our neighbor as we are able.
Heavenly Father, grant that we may be impartial, have just judges and laws, and we may treat others mercifully as you have shown us mercy in Christ Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.