Vol. 0 - No. 0 

December, 1981


by Jesse G. Jenkins

"For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: but seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought. Seek the Lord, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel." (Amos 5:4-6)

These words were addressed to the people of God. Israel's mistake was in rejecting God's way and seeking to establish ways of her own. "But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves." (Amos 5:26) Because of this Israel was going to be taken from her homeland into Assyrian captivity. "Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts." (Amos 5:27) Israel's only hope was in the abandonment of her own ways and a complete return to the Lord's; this, Amos exhorted her to do. However, Israel's heart was steeped in rebellion, and she did not appreciate Amos' words of exhortation and warning. Israel had one word for the prophets---" prophesy not." (Amos 2:12) Even the priest of Bethel said unto Amos: "0 thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread and prophesy there: but prophesy not again any more at Bethel." (Amos 7:12-13) But Amos was not a time serving man pleaser; he continued to condemn them anyway. "The end is come upon my people of Israel: I will not again pass by them anymore. And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord God." (Amos 8:2-3) But for the most part, Amos' warnings fell upon deaf ears; Israel did not repent, and she was taken into captivity.

As the "things written aforetime were written for our learning," God's people today should be determined not to make the same mistake as was made by God's people then. However, many of them are again rejecting God's way and seeking to establish ways of their own. Many today have set up their Moloch.

Some do not like God's law on divorce and remarriage; thus they have concocted various ways to try to circumvent it. Some do not like God's law on attending the assemblies of the saints; thus they can offer a multitude of excuses for absenting themselves from the same. Some do not like God's law relative to "keeping oneself unspotted from the world;" thus they freely engage in worldly activities. Some do not like God's law relative to individual evangelism; thus they never try to convert anyone from the error of his way. Some do not like God's law that assigns the task of "visiting the fatherless" to the individual; thus they try to shift their responsibility onto the local church. Some do not like God's law that assigns the task of training children to their parents; thus they never study with their children in their homes; but try to convince themselves that the amount of Bible instruction they receive in the classes arranged by the church will be adequate. Some are not satisfied with the power of the gospel in converting people and building up the church; thus they invent (or borrow from the denominations) all kinds of schemes which appeal to the physical man with which to enlarge their numbers. Some are not satisfied with the organization that the Lord has given the church; thus they build and maintain human organizations and insist upon the local church turning her work to the organization's oversight and then supply the money to enable the organization to do the work.

On and on we could go. But whatsoever the sphere may be in which we have rejected God's way for our own, we must realize that our only hope is to reject our ways and again "seek the Lord. "

As it was in the days of Amos, even so it is now; those of God's people who will not repent, falsely accuse the teachers who exhort and warn. Amaziah was quite willing for Amos to prophesy in Judah, but he did not want him to do so in Israel. Some today are willing for teachers to expose denominational error, but they do not want them to cry out against the errors in the church. But those who are truly serving the Living God will continue to warn. And if God's people cannot be called to repentance, their only end is destruction. Our desire and prayer as we cry out against error within the church should be that God's people today will learn from Israel's punishment, turn from the ways of men, and "seek the Lord" that they might live.