I’m intrigued by the tactics of persuading people. It fascinates me to think about how you get someone to do something they might not be interested in doing. For example, the various means and methods a parent will use to persuade a toddler run the spectrum from absolute comedy to deep anguish. What might start as a demanding and authoritative tone can quickly evaporate into begging and pleading so that the parent isn’t embarrassed by the toddler’s behavior.
How God calls His people back into faithfulness also varies. Through Amos, God deployed the full spectrum of persuasive methods. Intense lament and pleading: “Listen to this message that I am singing for you, a lament” (Amos 5:1). Warnings of punishment and judgment: “Therefore the LORD, the God of Armies, the Lord, says: There will be wailing in all the public squares; they will cry out in anguish in all the streets” (v.16).
Yet sometimes the most effective and unexpected approach God takes is the invitation. Right at the center of Amos’s powerful words of indictment and warning stands warm, affectionate words of invitation. God knew how wicked the sin of Israel was. He knows how deeply insulting and traitorous our rebellion is too. And yet, He invites us to a better world, life, and relationship.
He cries out, “Seek me and live!” (v.4). He says it repeatedly. “Seek the LORD and live” (v.6). It was God’s desire to restore and renew His people. He wanted to show mercy and kindness. So He invited them to come back to Him. He asked them to repent of their sin, return to Him, and experience His grace.
Some may be persuaded by the threats of their demise. The weight of considering an eternity under God’s terrible wrath, justly deserved, brings some to repentance. Some may be persuaded by seeing the sorrow and destruction their sin has created and lament over their ruined relationships, most of all with God. But some need this invitation.
Maybe you haven’t heard God saying, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6). The invitation of God is for us to seek Him, to draw near to Him. To cast off the deeds of our sinful lives and to chase and pursue the more satisfying, fulfilling, richer treasures of Christ.
The question is, will we receive His invitation? Will we believe His promises? Will we be wooed with the wonderful grace of God? Seek Christ, and live!