More from the book of Amos. Yahweh, speaking through the prophet, commands Israel to “Seek me and live.” Israel was guilty of idolatry and social injustice. They had been seeking their own comforts-not apart from religion-but apart from the Lord. They had actually turned religion into mere tradition-religion without heart. Yahweh was calling them to repentance-and he made it clear that he would be actively involved to thwart their efforts to seek their own comfort at the expense of the needs of the less fortunate. In Amos 5:1-15 three times the command is made to “seek.” Twice the people are commanded to seek the Lord and once to seek good. The end result is the Lord himself-life-righteousness and justice.
As I studied this passage this morning the command to “seek” caught my attention. A little word study revealed that this term can mean to search out, to read or study, to inquire, to consult, to ponder, to investigate, or to beat a path to. These are rich notions of what it would mean to seek the Lord. The New Bible Commentary makes note of the fact that the call to seek Yahweh is a call to relationship and intimacy-to closeness to the God of the universe. That is an unimaginable privilege. Yet how easy it was for the Israelites to substitute intimacy with Yahweh for tradition and idolatry. Could it be any less true for us?
There is a regular seeking that must take place in the life of a believer. We are seeking creatures by nature-we will either seek Yahweh and that which is good or we will seek our own comforts and end up with that which is evil and does not lead to life. To seek our own end actually leads to injustice-subverting justice with a bribe or dismissing the seemingly unimportant and less fortunate of the world. But to seek the Lord leads to life, righteousness, justice-and compassion for the less fortunate.
Note too in v.14-15 that the seeking may precede the loving-in other words our will may have to precede our emotion. To seek good will lead to loving good-we cannot afford to wait on the emotion to act-the act will lead to the emotion.
May you and I “beat a path” to the God of the universe today-that we may live and show compassion to all whom He created.