Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.
Godly Advice for Troubled Times
We live in troubled times, but that has been a fact throughout the history of nations. Permanent peace doesn’t exist on earth, although in 765 B.C. the ten northern tribes of Israel thought they had it. Once a part of the great Kingdoms of David and Solomon, Israel was now divided. The ten northern tribes, still known as Israel, had fallen into open idolatry and immorality. Judah, the two tribes to the south, wasn’t doing much better. Injustice was rampant in Israel. One writer describes Israel at that time as “politically secure and spiritually smug.”
Our holy God was justly offended by the sins of Israel, and threatened imminent destruction by the hand of enemy nations, which ultimately did happen. But ironically, at this point Israel still asserted that the Lord God Almighty was with them.
God chose a shepherd/farmer to announce impending judgment. Yet, Amos also offered a message of grace and hope from God: “Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.”
That seems overly simplistic: “Seek good, not evil.” How would you apply this to your life? How would you define those simple words?
“Evil,” perhaps, is most easily defined, but maybe not so much when our sins include complacency and smugness regarding our relationship with God.
“Good” is a profound word in the context of the holy will of the Lord God Almighty. In his holy eyes nothing short of perfection is good. Yet, the forgiveness of sins won for us by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, his Son, is GOOD NEWS, the gospel of salvation for sinners. Now, as redeemed children of God, “good” includes everything that describes the life of faith to which we are called and to which we are guided by Scriptures. It involves living and growing in faith, eager to share our faith in Jesus with those who need to hear the GOOD NEWS.
How do we “seek” good? Since the Holy Spirit creates faith in us by the gospel, the “seeking” begins there. None of us can be perfect till we are in heaven. Therefore, “seeking good” is a part of humble daily repentance. Trust in Jesus, plus “seeking” the guidance of the Scriptures in Bible study and worship, asking the blessing of the Holy Spirit, define “seeking good” for every facet of our lives.
That’s godly advice from Amos, in troubled times, and all the time!
Dear Holy Spirit, graciously help me to seek the good of the gospel that I may live now and forever with you, the heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus the one, true “Lord God Almighty!” Amen.