Amos 5:4, 14 This is what the Lord says to Israel:
“Seek me and live”
Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.
The Lord said something directly to Israel, and then Amos amplified and explained it, with great accuracy. Seeking God, the Creator and source of all life, is without question the most logical thing to do if you want to live. In verse 5 the Lord specifically contrasts seeking Him with seeking specific places of worship. Every time revival breaks out somewhere, people travel great distances to go there. If they are genuinely seeking God, that can be a very beneficial thing, but we are very quick to confuse the location with the blessing, and think, “If I can only get to that place.” God says not to do that! Amos gives us practical advice on how to seek God: seek good. Since God is invisible and not tied to a specific place of worship, we need to seek Him in other ways. Each of us has a conscience, and we can think of that as a “GPS” to lead us to God. We don’t want to damage that GPS! Paul speaks of “hypocritical liars, whose consciences have be seared as with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:2) When you get yourself into that category, you certainly aren’t going to be seeking God, however much you might claim that He is with you. Sadly, we have seen that in some Church leaders down through the centuries, and the results have been tragic. We need to be honest and humble in seeking God, asking Him to sharpen our consciences so that we will seek good, and thus seek God, more accurately. It is only through Him that we have life, and through His Son that we have eternal life. (John 3:16)
One of the many blessings of being raised in a strongly Christian home was the early establishment of a pretty strong conscience. That’s not to say I haven’t ignored my conscience more times than I like to remember, but it was there even when it wasn’t being used. As a pastor I constantly run into people who have a very confused conscience, and it can be very sad indeed. It reminds me of the GPS in my car, that is about four years old. Most of the time it can be very helpful, but it doesn’t know about recent road changes. When we take the new exit off the expressway closest to our house, for example, it goes crazy! Most of us need corrections, at least, to the data in our “GPS.” Sometimes we need an almost completely new data set! If someone doesn’t know about Jesus, they are missing the data for the only “off ramp” to eternal life. In that analogy, my task is to supply the updated data set to all who will accept it. To do that, I’ve got to be careful that my own GPS is set accurately, so that I won’t be leading others astray.
Father, thank You for this very clear, modern analogy. It’s not one that Paul would have known about! Help me continue to seek You with my whole heart, rejoicing in how You have revealed Yourself to me and always seeking more, because You always have more to give. Thank You. Praise God!