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June 14, 2015
“Seek Good and Live!”
Amos 5:14-15, 18-27
PDF Lesson Print Out is now Located at the Bottom of the Lesson. Please Scroll Down, Click and Enjoy! Blessings.
(Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited)
Between last week’s lesson and this week’s, God, through Amos, continues His rebuke concerning His people.
In their times of prosperity they forgot that it was not their own strength that delivered them, but God (see Amos 2:9-12). He reminded them where He, not they, brought them from.
God also sent men to instruct the people. Yet, they were accused of trying to sidetrack the plan of God by filling the Nazarite with wine and telling the prophets “Do not prophesy!” (Amos 2:11-12).
Although God is longsuffering, there does come a time when enough is enough and He has to act to direct His people back onto the right path.
God has had a special relationship with them. He said, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth . . .” (Amos 3:2a). This speaks volumes of the faithfulness of God and of the covenant He entered into and allowed Himself to be bound by because of the love for His people. They could truly say, “Out of all the people in the world, He chose me.”
Yet, it did not spark enough love, admiration and devotion in the heart of the people for them to stay committed wholeheartedly to Him. Because of that God says, “I will punish you for all your iniquities,” (Amos 3:2b).
As a good Father, the Bible says, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth,” (Hebrews 12:6; compare Proverbs 3:12 and Revelation 3:19).
Out of love God disciplines because He wants to continue in this relationship with His people. But, he asks, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). The balance has to be restored in this relationship. Restoration will come when they finally realize their wrong and begin to “walk” with God again.
For now, they continue in sin, oppression of the poor and the perverting of justice (Amos 5:11-12) and it has not escaped God’s eye. The day of their prosperity will come to an end and they will now know a time of desperation: “Ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them,” (Amos 5:11).
God wants sincere hearts that worship Him from the inside out. He doesn’t want what appear to be the right motions on the outside, but He wants true righteousness that seeks Him on the inside. And trust me . . . God knows the difference and He will not accept anything less than sincere. Simply put, you can’t pull the wool over His eyes and you can’t outwit God. As we have seen above, there is no blessing in disobedience. Rather, one should “SEEK GOOD AND LIVE!”
Amos 5:14-15 “Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.”
At the very onset of this lesson we are told to “seek good, and not evil, that ye may live.”
Pause: Here’s a little side bit (just my little take on this), in the Bible we are told over and over again that God is good (Ps. 25:8; 100:5; Mk. 10:18). Therefore, if you will allow me, anytime we have an opportunity to seek good, we also have an opportunity to seek God.
The Bible emphatically declares and proves that it is not God’s will that any should perish, but that all be saved (2 Peter 3:9). From the beginning of time all the way to the prophesied end, God is trying to get people to heaven! He gives man chance after chance to change their course that they may be found on His blessing side. “Therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious to you . . .,” (Isaiah 30:18).
While He has given us this time we are not to be idle with this He has so blessed us. We are to use this time for “good” and not “evil;” to turn away from those false, profitless ways and “live” for Him.
“Seek” speaks of diligent activity. It’s not content with a meaningless life. It wants to do better. It wants to go after the best that God has for it. Earlier, Amos told the people, “Seek the LORD, and ye shall live,” (Amos 5:6). God wants the best for you. He wants you to “live!”
Did not Jesus say, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” (John 10:10). But, that abundant life that Jesus speaks of will never be found living outside of the will of God.
Just because they thought “the God of hosts” was with them, and they “have spoken” like it’s already done, as if He’s going to prosper them anyway – guess what? He’s not!
But, He wants to. He wants to bless His people. He wants to be where His people are. He wants to see them thrive. He wants to see them in a blessed place. Rather, He is forced to take on the role as disciplinarian, because, as we have previously learned, sin requires judgment.
They have deluded themselves into believing that everything is alright with God the way it is. Unfortunately, we also see much of this same self-deception in the world and in the church today. But, if they will just do it as God says do it, then they will “live.”
“Hate the evil, and love the good.” Hate and love are opposites. So is good and evil. Yet, it seems somebodies morals were mixed up.
This seems like such a simple command; something that shouldn’t be hard to decipher, yet it was what God commanded because they were doing the exact opposite. Isaiah said, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter,” (5:20).
Wrong is wrong and right is right! There is a definite difference between the two. “An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked,” (Proverbs 29:27). The two don’t live together. They are not compatible companions and neither are their lifestyles.
God’s people needed to do an about face from what they have been doing. “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil,” (1 Peter 3:12).
They need to learn to hate what God resist and love the good.
“Establish judgment in the gate.” Stop perverting justice! Everybody deserves to be treated fairly. We learned last week how the rich and others, through bribes and backdoor schemes wreaked havoc on the innocent and poor. Amos said it needs to stop!
Set up a system that is good and right; one that’s not being manipulated by money and power.
“It may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” Grace is what God has always desired to do. Grace is how God wants to respond to the repentant soul. His “gracious” attitude toward the soul that wants to do right brings out the best side of His mercy; His unmerited favor on a life that is seeking the good.
Pause: This goes to show you that no matter how far you think you have gone; no matter how bad you think things have gotten, there is still room in God’s heart for you. His goal in sending the prophets are not just to pronounce judgment, but also with hopes of turning straying hearts back to Him.
This is why His plea is so passionate: “seek good . . . that ye may live.” He wants hearts to return to the good: HIM! In an article I wrote called “Return to Me,” it expresses the same sentiment:
“Can I tell you something? God has never fallen out of love with you! As a matter of fact, He has done everything possible to try to keep you safely in His arms where He can take care of you and love on you. Yet, and still, the drama unfolds that leads the heart of man away to look after their own pursuits. What then of the love that God felt for you? It’s still there!
His love has never left just because we did. His love has never stopped embracing even when we didn’t return the embrace. His love has always been on fire for you and I, even when we tried to extinguish it. His love never quits seeking reconciliation because He wants us with Him!” (Word For Life Says/Word For Life Says
Amos 5:18-20 “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?”
In 1 Corinthians Paul told the church there, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,” (10:12). There are those who think they have it all together. They just know they are ready to walk the streets of glory. They have the attitude they can do what they want because they are covered.
The Bible tells us, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting,” (Galatians 6:7-8).
Those to whom Amos is preaching have indeed deceived themselves (we saw this in last week’s lesson in Amos 2:4). In this week’s lesson they can’t wait for “the day of the LORD!” Why? Because they made themselves believe that while everybody deserves punishment, they are okay and have something great to look forward to.
Though they have treated people wrong; though they have walked after idols; though they have despised God’s law they still think that “day” is going to yield blessings and victory for them.
Amos said, “To what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.” Why? Because as Galatians told us this is what they sowed. They lived a life of darkness therefore “darkness” they shall reap.
They may have thought they were getting away with all their evil works, but they will receive their just desserts. Even if they get away from the devouring nature of the “lion,” they will still have to contend with the fierceness of the “bear.”
By chance, even if they made it all the way home and escaped them both: leaning on “the wall” with one hand for support, struggling to catch their breath as the other hand rubs the chest, trying to induce calm – suddenly, the hand of support is bitten by a “serpent.”
There will be no escape for those who chose to remain in an unrepentant state. This is why they need to heed the plea to “seek good and live!” If they do, Christ will be theirs and our escape. As Galatians also said, “He that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Or, as Jeremiah put it, “Return to Me . . . then you shall not be moved,” (4:1, NKJV).
In the meantime, I’ll tell you who was not moved. GOD! And, it was not in a good way. Look in the verses below.
Amos 5:21-24 “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.”
God was not moved by all the outward rituals, and yet hearts that weren’t sincere toward Him. He has already heard a lot without much genuine follow through from His people.
He needs “doers” of His word (James 1:22). If one is not a “doer;” an obedient follower, he is deceiving himself. If one is not serving God and following and fulfilling His commands he/she are lying to themselves that they are okay.
The issue that Amos addresses with their “feasts . . . offerings . . . songs;” God rejects them and says, “I will not smell . . . I will not accept . . . neither will I regard . . . I will not hear.” The reason being, the people were going through the motions of outward piety while the inner man was contaminated with evil works.
God is always more concerned with the inner man than the outward show people put on for other people. Worship can look good on the outside in the eyes of man; one can sing all the right songs, make all the right responses, and say the best “Hallelujahs,” but to God, if the heart is not right and true before Him, and if the worship is not devoted to Him, it will not be accepted.
God said in Isaiah, “Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men,” (29:13).
We must ask is our worship pleasing to God. Is the life we live a testimony for Christ on the inside and out?
One must seek to live for God in the truest sense; in “judgment” (meaning justice) and in “righteousness.” A life found in Him should gush over like it’s “waters” that “run down” or as a “mighty stream” with these godly characteristics.
The Bible asks us, “What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God,” (Micah 6:8). This is the life that pleases Him; the life He desires. But, in all their outward rituals; in all their singing; in all their offerings their hearts were far from God’s “requirements.” Their worship wasn’t real, nor was it wholly and holy devoted to Him. It’s not what God desires (see Hosea 6:6).
Amos 5:25-26 “Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.”
Apparently, their habit of not worshipping wholly and holy the way He desires has been an issue since the day of their initial deliverance from Egypt.
Pause: When God delivers there is supposed to be a great change that takes place in the life of the one who has been delivered. This is why you’ll hear some testify “When I looked at my hands, they looked new. I looked at my feed, and they did too. I started to walk and I had a new walk. I started to take and I had a new talk,” (for similar gospel lyrics click: “You Must Be Born Again” found on gospellyrics.com).
In that, we see the word “new” over and over again because newness is what’s supposed to occur when God brings you out.
Yet, when God brought His people out, they didn’t do a complete about face. They didn’t wholly and holy devote themselves to God alone. They didn’t walk in the newness of all God has done for them. Rather, they held on to some of the sins of Egypt.
Yes, they offered to God in the “wilderness.” But, they also carried about the “images” of their false gods “Moloch and Chiun” which they “made” by themselves and for themselves (compare to Acts 7:42-43).
Amos 5:27 “Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.”
Repercussions will follow for the unrepentant. In last week’s lesson God said, “I will not turn away the punishment thereof,” (Amos 2:4, 6).
Here in chapter 5, God is sticking to what He said. “Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity.” Though the prophets warned them, the people didn’t believe it nor heed it until the enemy showed up on their doorstep and took them away.
Because they refused to live and to learn to do justice and righteousness, “captivity” will overtake them and they would be there until God would be ready to deliver them once again.
Remember what was said in Galatians: “God is not mocked,” (6:7a). Absolutely NO ONE is pulling the wool over God’s eyes. Absolutely NO ONE is getting by with empty worship. Absolutely NO ONE will be blessed by mistreating others: “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” (6:7b).
Therefore, my plea to you is the same as Amos’: “Seek Good and Live!”
(Click here for PDF: Seek Good and Live Sunday School Lesson, or simply click print button below. Enjoy!)
Below are activities to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Seek Good and Live Fill In Bible Verse: Seek Good and Live Fill In Bible Verse (Use this PDF for accurate printing)
Seek Good Glasses Craft: Seek Good Glasses Craft (Use this PDF for accurate printing) Glasses are a fun way to learn about what we should really be seeking after. Enjoy!
How Many Words?: Seek Good and Live How Many Words (Use this PDF for accurate printing)
BINOCULARS TO SEEK WITH: (Using old toilet paper rolls these would serve as the same purpose as the glasses. Enjoy!)
Below are more Activities/Links/Resources for this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
“Teaching Kids the Bible: Amos” (Ideas for presenting information about Amos. Enjoy!)
“Prophets” (Old Testament prophets in review for reading age children to understand. Enjoy!)
“Live Your Life for God” (Games and Activities)
Father’s Day Activities:
“Father’s Day Ideas” from Ministry to Children
“Father’s Day Trophy” from Preschool Crafts for Kids
“Father’s Day Rocks!” paperweight from Preschool Crafts for Kids
“Father’s Day Shirt and Tie Card Craft” from Preschool Crafts for Kids
“Father’s Day Handprint Card” from Crafty-crafted
“Two More Father’s Day Crafts” from Craftsforkidslets.com
“Father’s Day Printables and Cards” from Allcrafts.net (This site has several great ideas. Enjoy!)
Allkidsnetwork.com has several great Father’s Day ideas.
Other Father’s Day Sites:
“Easy Father’s Day Crafts” from Blue Paper