31 May 2014

Amos 5:1-17

"Seek me and live" (v. 4)


In today's passage the tone changes but the message is still the same and just as strident. However it takes more of the form of a lament, rather than a rant.

It also has a palistrophic structure:

Introduction (verses 1-3)

Invitation (verses 4-6)

Complaint (verse 7)

Doxology (verses 8-9)

Complaint (verses 10-13)

Invitation (verses 14-15)

Conclusion (verses 16-17)

Running throughout the passage is the appeal in various forms to "Seek God and live" (vv. 4, 6, 14). The first time (verse 4) there is a warning not to "seek Bethel" or "enter in Gilgal", places where worship took place, but also linked with the idea that religious ritual had been abused or corrupted (see Amos 4:4).

The second time (verse 6) sets out the consequences of a failure to follow that course of action - with dramatic language typical of Amos.

The final and final occasion (verse 14) is more positive. There is both a recognition that following this course of action will be beneficial ("the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you") and also a suggestion of how the listener/reader might seek good - "hating evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate" (v. 15).

To Ponder

  • What do you do (or might you do) to "seek the Lord"?
  • In your life and discipleship how might you (a) hate evil, (b) love good and (c) establish justice?

Bible notes author

Ken Kingston

Ken Kingston preaches in the High Wycombe Circuit. He has worked for the Connexional Team since 1992 in a variety of roles and has been involved in 'Called by Name' and 'Time to Talk of God' amongst others.