Is God on your side?
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.
On God’s Side
During the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was supposedly asked if he thought God was on the side of the Union or on the side of the Confederacy.
Lincoln’s reply was, “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
I cannot find any documentation that Abraham Lincoln actually said this, but it sounds like something he would say.
It is also good advice (some might add “surprisingly,” coming from a politician).
Many arguments, decisions, conclusions, and verdicts have been made because the one – or ones – making them believe that God is on their side.
I’m not so sure that’s a safe assumption! Lincoln seems to agree and warns a warn-torn nation not to buy into what he might have felt was a devilish deception of believing they are in the right because “God is on our side!”
A Shepherd Responds to the Claim
He was happy being a shepherd. Amos spent a lot of time outdoors away from the politics of his own nation, the religious squabbles of the people, and the intrigue and threats from surrounding nations.
He was content with spending his days and nights with the flock. He gave thanks to God for the daily witness of beautiful sunrises and peaceful sunsets.
But God had other ideas. From the flocks of Tekoa, God called Amos to be a prophet to his people.
One of the things that Amos trumpets to Israel is an answer to their idea that God is on their side.
Seek Good and Not Evil
I think I would find it comforting to know that God was on my side. But as I think about that idea further, I realize that it is just a tad conceited.
Who am I – or who do I think I am – that God would choose to be on my side! Lincoln was right! I shouldn’t concern myself with believing that God is on my side. Better by far to live my life being on God’s side!
Amos’ message to Israel was to call them to seek good and not evil. That way they can be sure that they are on God’s side! They may still characterize things as if God were on their side. But in seeking good, and finding “good” to be God’s ways, it shouldn’t be long before they realize that they are, in fact, on God’s side.
The only definition of the good that we should all seek comes from God. He is the Creator of all that is good. It is only our sin that taints the creation and causes evil.
Be on God’s Side
Amos the prophet called God’s people back to his side. Jesus Christ won us back to God’s side with his death and resurrection.
Now, in the power of the forgiveness of sins and the righteousness of Christ we, too, can be on God’s side.
Let’s concern ourselves with that. Abraham Lincoln would approve!
Heavenly Father, thank you for calling us to your side through the death and resurrection of your son, Jesus. Help us to call others to your side, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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