Google+ 01/29/13 Do What is Good!

Amos 5:14-15


Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live!
Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed.
Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice.
Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people.


Do what is good and run from evil.  We could stop right here in our devotion today and the instruction would be complete!  I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded to do what is good and continue to run from evil.  In verse 1 of this chapter, Amos tells us who he is.  He is a shepherd from Tekoa.  Later, Amos tells us that he is no prophet, nor a prophet's son.  He calls himself a herdsman and gatherer of sycamore fruit.  We need to remember how important shepherds were in the Old and New Testament.  Remember, the first people to see the star and make their way to Bethlehem were the shepherds.  They were dependable.  They were tireless.  They were not "know-it-alls."  Shepherds were simple people that focused on doing what was good and running from evil.  Their lives, and the lives of their sheep, depended on them having all of these characteristics.  Being vigilant, keeping the one wolf away from the many sheep.  And even though they cared a great deal for the entire herd, a single lost sheep was of utmost importance.  Wow, I want to be a shepherd too!  Oops, imagine that...God already made me one!!  God has laid an enormous burden on our shepherd Amos.  The burden is not just making sure that all his sheep are safe.  God has chosen Amos to deliver His message of judgment against His people Israel.  In this case, specifically the northern kingdom.   The Israelites are running around telling everyone that they are God's "chosen" people.  They are claiming the title, but certainly not acting within God's will.  Amos is explaining to Israel that God is not pleased with their "evil" behavior.  Amos tells them to do what is good and run from evil.  Only then, will the God they claim as their own, serve them.  In case they didn't get it, Amos repeats, in stronger words, that they should hate evil and love what is good.  Then Amos makes reference to how corrupt their government has become.  Amos tells them to turn their courts into true halls of justice.   Amos closes, saying if they do this, there might be a chance that God will bless and protect whatever remnant of Israel might be left.  Mighty harsh words from a shepherd and sycamore fruit gatherer, don't you think?  We are sure now, because the Bible tells us, that for the most part, Amos' message fell on deaf ears, just like it does today in our world.  God continues to warn us, now through Jesus Christ, that we need to do what is good and run from evil.  Most often, we ignore what is good and run TO evil.  Is it any wonder that our lives get so messy?  I have surrounded myself with some wonderful people that I keep referring to in my devotions as my "Family of God."  My partner and I produced a CD of original music dedicated to them called "The Family of God."  I wrote a book called "Building the Family of God."  No, this is not a cheap advertisement for both!  It is rather a "life statement" that my "Family of God" helps me do what is good and run from evil.  For me, my "Family of God" serves as my "Amos," daily.  Amos was speaking God's truth in clear and easy to understand shepherd language.  Amos was not trying to impress people with his education and the big words he had learned.  As ministers, we might need to pay more attention to Amos and less to our diplomas!  Amos was clearly showing the heart of God to all that would listen.  Amos was trying desperately to hold us accountable to God.  Let's heed his words today.  Surround yourself with your own "Family of God."  Be careful that your "Family of God" are people strive to do what is good and run from evil.  Your life depends on it!