Friday, September 02, 2005

Amos: How Do We Seek Him?

Amos 5:10-15 compares the behavior of those who hate Christ and those who love him.

Amos 5:10-15 They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: 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. For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right. Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time. 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.

Natural man “hates and abhors“ Christ as well as all those who confess Christ. God knows his enemies and he uses their sin to afflict his people (the just). God’s enemies “tread upon the poor”. These poor are the poor in spirit, those who have been humbled through the gift of the Holy Spirit. They “hate him....abhor him...tread upon the poor...take from him”. God has committed to punish all sins against him and all sins against his people. They will not reap benefits from any of their efforts in this life. Their works are meaningless (hewing stones and planting vineyards), they can not reconcile themselves to God, and they can not protect themselves from God’s wrath.

God’s elect, in reaction to afflictions sent by God to them in this life, turn from their filth, corruption, and self-reliance. They are enabled to see and understand that there is no righteousness in themselves or anyone else in this life. They seek the absolute righteousness of Christ. They “seek good and not evil” and they “hate the evil”. They reject free-will works-religion and rely exclusively on Christ’s Free Sovereign Grace. They seek and love the righteousness of Christ; they “seek good” and “love the good”.

God’s elect do not attempt to show off their righteousness to anyone. They “prudently” rest quietly (silently) in Christ’s righteousness. They display their knowledge of Christ through their words and their actions. God commits that he will come to (be with) those who seek him. They confess that he is with them (as ye have spoken) - and he is with them at all times. God “will be gracious” to all who seek him. He will give them what they absolutely do not deserve.

Joel 2:12-13 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

By Ray Bennetts