Amos 5:14, 15
Seek good, and not evil, that you may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as you have spoken.
The coincidence between religion and morality is brought very strikingly before us in such passages as these. How different are such appeals as these, made by the prophet in the name of the Lord, from the requirements of merely formal religion! The highest conception of good is revealed, the noblest standard of right is exhibited; and all the sanctions furnished by the authority and the loving kindness of the Eternal are brought to bear upon human nature to induce to consecration and obedience.
I. MAN'S NATURE AND POSITION RENDER NECESSARY A MORAL CHOICE.
1. Man's emotional nature impels him to adopt an object of supreme love. Human affection may be diffused or it may be concentrated, it may be languid or it may be intense. But in any case it exists and acts as a principle of the moral life.
2. Man's voluntary and practical nature requires an object of supreme quest and endeavour. We seek what we love, we avoid what we hate.
II. THE GREAT ALTERNATIVE WHICH PRESENTS ITSELF TO MAN IS THE CHOICE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL. This is a real and not a fictitious or conventional distinction. It would be as reasonable to deny the distinction between straight and crooked, between light and darkness, as that between moral good and moral evil. The distinction is vital and eternal, connected with the "nature of things," with the attributes and character of God, with the constitution of man. The choice between pleasure and pain, between worldly prosperity and adversity, is as nothing compared with this choice. The appeals of revelation, from the beginning to the end of the Bible, urge men to choose the good in preference to the evil. There are doubtless inducements to another choice; but this remains the choice enforced by reason, by conscience, by God.
III. HOWEVER IT MAY BE REPRESENTED OTHERWISE, THE FACT IS THAT THE PRACTICAL PREFERENCE OF GOOD CONDUCES TO MAN'S WELFARE. The inducements offered to adopt a life of selfishness and of pleasure are many and powerful; there are "pleasures of sin for a season." The way of virtue and religion is a steep and rugged path. Yet it yields a deep and pure satisfaction not to be found in the ways, the broad and primrose paths, of sin. We are not called upon to balance pleasures. The voice of right, of God, is authoritative, and demands obedience without hesitation or calculation. Yet God promises such as listen to and obey his voice that he will "be with" them, that he will be "gracious unto" them, and that they shall "live." - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.