Focal Passages: Amos 5:4-6, 18-24; 6:1a, 4-7
This section of Amos’ prophecy is centered on God’s pleading for His people to return to Him. It is clear that Israel faces impending destruction. It is also clear from the lamenting tone of the passage that God does not take delight in these pronouncements of disaster, but grieves at what lies ahead for unrepentant Israel.
In God’s righteous court Israel had no case. God’s justice is pure and upright, unlike Israel’s shady gatehouses where justice went to the highest bidder. And Israel’s sin flooded well beyond their city gates. They had been prostituting themselves in pagan religious activities and had become narcissistic and self-indulgent. To make things worse, they continued in their own religious activities with no regard to how they were living their lives. But God hated and despised their hypocritical, religious activity because they were so unrepentant.
The only hope the Israelites had was in the power of God made available through repentance, but Israel saw no need for that. Instead of mourning and grieving over their sins the Israelites were living extravagant lives. Prayerfully, we would never be so blinded by our own sin. But if we ever find ourselves there, we can always find hope in God. All throughout these passages we hear the same call – “seek the Lord and live.” God graciously extends His fellowship and forgiveness to those who repent and turn to Him. Idolatry, pride and self-indulgence are the same today as they were then. And God is the same, judging righteously.
The only hope we have is in Christ who was slaughtered on the wood of a cross and walked out of a cold grave three days later. It is through Christ that we are presented pure and righteous before the great Judge. And if we seek Him we will live. This is the power of the gospel.