Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.Amos 5:14-15
Not many people spend much time in the book of the prophet Amos. It is one of those older prophetic books (8th century BC) that speaks to visions of impending troubles for Israel. He warns them that they are not clinging to the covenantal relationship with God, and repentance (on the part of the nation) has been lacking. Amos is hoping to stimulate a hunger to seek God, because this is what God desires.
We also see the characteristics or evidence of one zealously pursuing God. These people seek good, hate evil, and establish justice within their community, thus helping them experience God’s gracious and ever present love. Thus turning away from the evil they have been pursuing.
What jumps out at me is the word “remnant.” This remnant of Joseph implies that this grace will be for those who remain after the destruction. The disaster is inevitable, so their repentance will not stay off the destruction. But it is how they react in and after the disaster that will be important.
For the last ten months (or more), we have been surviving a disaster at multiple levels. I think this scripture calls us to endure while pursuing “42” in our lives. We are to seek good, hate evil, and be just with all in our community.
Unfortunately, our culture often relativizes what good and evil actually are, as absolute truths are frowned upon. As for justice, this word has become so politically loaded. But returning to God will reveal what is truly good and evil. And maybe justice can only be found when one is in God, because God is true justice!
I guess what I am trying to say is that maybe this could be something to focus on in our troubled times, so that when we come out the other side, we will be realigned with…