“WHAT ARE YOU SEEKING?”
Text: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15
Sunday October 10, 2021 (Pentecost 20)
Trinity – Creston/Mount Ayr
Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Our text for this 20TH Sunday after Pentecost is the OT lesson from Amos 5 that was just proclaimed.
Let Us Pray: Dearest Jesus, send your Holy Spirit as we hear and meditate on your word that despite our seeking stuff for ourselves, we realize from your word that you sought us and prepare us to seek others for your sake. Amen.
Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:
. “What are you looking for?” It’s the middle of the afternoon. It’s Saturday, and you’re at home. You’ve wandered into the kitchen, you’ve opened the pantry door, and you’re staring at the contents.
“What are you looking for?” is the question that comes from your spouse or your family member when they find you standing there. And truth be told, you don’t really know what you’re looking for.
You know you’re hungry (or maybe bored), but you can’t decide if you’re looking for sweet or salty, chewy or crunchy. You have a number of options before you, and yet there isn’t one that stands out as the answer to your craving.
2. “What are you looking for?” is a question to be posed to emotionally and spiritually restless people.
a. What answers might we hear?
(1) I’m looking for happiness.
(2) I’m looking for excitement.
(3) I’m looking for love.
(4) I’m looking for a place to belong.
(5) I’m looking for purpose.
(6) I’m looking for a good time.
(7) I’m looking for escape.
b. One way or another, we’re looking for something that makes us come alive.
(1) And yet, experience proves that none of the avenues to life just mentioned come through for us for any length of time.
(2) Moreover, we were not created to seek our source of life in any of these things.
c. God’s people during the time of Amos knew a thing or two about seeking out their source of life apart from God.
(1) Amos is writing at a time of relative political stability in both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. (His prophecy is addressed primarily to Israel, the Northern Kingdom.)
(2) However, the external national stability is masking serious spiritual problems.
(a) Generations earlier, King Jeroboam had set up calf idols in the cities of Bethel and Dan, and Israel had followed their kings in practicing idolatry right up to the time of Amos’s writing.
(b) The people had also adopted the false gods of the people around them.
(3) Ultimately, the people had adopted the worship of the most ancient (and modern) of false gods: the god of self.
(a) In service to their own appetites, the rich and well-connected people of Amos’s day were building beautiful homes and planting luxurious vineyards, and they funded their efforts by oppressing and defrauding the common people.
(b) They charged the people unfair taxes on their grain harvests (v 11a).
(c) Then, when the people would complain and seek their legal rights, the rich would pay off the judges in order to maintain their unjust enterprise (v 12).
d. But God had sent the prophet to warn them that their time was coming (v 11b).
(1) They would build their beautiful homes but not get to live in them.
(2) They would plant their pleasant vineyards but miss out on the wine.
(3) These warnings would find their fulfillment in Israel’s destruction by the Assyrians within a generation of Amos’s writing, about 722 BC.
e. Like the well-connected of Amos’s day, we are not immune to using and abusing those around us in our search for the good life.
(1) When we seek after comfort, we use people as servants of our comfort.
(2) When we seek after wealth, we use people as means of production.
(3) When we seek after pleasure and self-gratification, we use people as objects to satisfy our desire.
(4) When we seek after power, we use people either as allies in our pursuit or as obstacles to be removed.
1. But God himself is seeking so much more for us.
a. Amos didn’t simply communicate judgment. Through the prophet, God was pleading with his people: “Seek me and live. . . . Seek the Lord and live. . . . Seek good, and not evil, that you may live” (5:4, 6, 14).
(1) By nature, we would seek life in a thousand “good” things.
(2) But only one is able to give real life, abundant life, eternal life.
(a) “Loving the Lord your God . . . for he is your life and length of days” (Deut 30:20).
(b) “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3).
(c) “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10).
b. The beautiful good news: when we did not seek God, he sought us.
(1) The one through whom all things are made and have life came to earth, seeking out his twisted and death-bound creatures.
(2) With acts of love and mercy, Jesus bore witness of the life he came to give us.
(3) Even so, his people rejected the author of life, at times walking away sad like the rich young man of Mark 10, and ultimately by giving him over to death on a cross.
(4) But thanks be to God, Christ, the source of all life, destroyed the power of death and lives forever to be our life.
(5) He comes to us today to invite us to seek our life in him, with the promise that we will find it (Mt 7:7).
(a) Through the Absolution.
(b) Through the message of the Gospel.
(c) Through the sacrament we receive in which he communicates his real presence and life to us.
c. Having sought and found our life in God, we then see people rightly, as objects of his love and our love.
(1) Justice for and care of our neighbor flow from a life that has been justified for Jesus’ sake.
(2) Because we have a source of life in Jesus that does not fail, we seek to bless those around us instead of using them for our own ends.
If we were to read to the end of Amos’s prophecy, we would find that the prophet had words of hope for his wayward countrymen.
God would seek his people. God would find his people. God would save his people. And in the end, God would bring them home to a land where they would build homes and dwell in them and where they would plant vineyards and enjoy the wine.
For they would dwell in his presence forever, rightly related to him and to one another. It’s a picture of the new creation, the hope that Jesus has won for us!
We Don’t Really Know What We’re Seeking, but
God Has Sought and Found Us in Jesus
So That We Might Seek and Know Him.
And in a world full of people who don’t know exactly what they’re looking for, we relish this opportunity to seek the God who sought us and then to seek the good of others, that they, too, might know the love of our seeking and rescuing God through us. This is where true life is found! Amen.
The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.