Second and Third Chances
1 Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel:
2 “Fallen, no more to rise, is the virgin Israel; forsaken on her land, with none to raise her up.”
3 For thus says the Lord God: “The city that went out a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went out a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel.”
4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live,
5 but do not seek Bethel, and do not enter into Gilgal or cross over to Beersheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into exile, and Bethel shall come to nothing.”
6 Seek the Lord and live, lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel.
With the opening of Amos 5 we hear the Lord in sorrow over the fate of Israel. He mourns over the choices they have made to deny Him and follow after gods of their own making. He sees their demise, leaving only ten percent behind, and they in tatters. It is a dire prediction. But in verses 4 and 6, once again the Lord holds out hope, as only He is able to do.
“Seek me and live.” (verse 4) These words ring across the entirety of Old Testament history. They reach across the pages of the Bible and into our own lives, touching every single aspect of who we are in 2011, just as they did 2,500 year ago to God’s people then. “Seek the Lord and live.” (verse 6) That word “seek” has 2 primary meanings; the most obvious is to seek with the same meaning we attach to the word. But it also means “to resort to”. God recognizes that we are going sinfully exhaust all of our own resources before we resort to asking Him. This is a source of sorrow for Him, as He knows that while we are solving our own problems there will be much pain.
A brief study of the word “seek” reveals that God uses it to speak to us on numerous occasions in the Bible. If you’ve got the time and inclination, the 6 verses below are only a small sample of all the verses that encourage us to look to the Lord.
Jeremiah 29:12-13, Lamentations 3:25-26, Matthew 7:8
Every instance invites the reader to turn back to the God who loves them and provides for their every need. The above are just a few of God’s invitations to come back to Him. Scattered throughout the story of God’s people we find that every generation needed to be reminded that their source of love, comfort, relationship, peace, provision . . . all of the blessings of life, can only be found with the Lord. Every other place we look will only bring disappointment and pain. But God continually holds out His hand and does not hide His face from the person who would only look for Him. While we stray away and look for our own answers, He is still there, waiting to be found and reliably able to provide for our every need. “If you seek me, I will be found by you,” declares the Lord!