Things had become very bad in Israel;
the corruption, the oppression, the sin. The point was reached where the very survival of the nation was at stake. For this reason, Amos composed a lament to mourn the coming death of Israel (Amos 5:1-15). Often in the prophetic books, no distinction is made between the word of the prophet and the word of the Lord. Thus, Amos’ lament is also God’s lament over Israel.
The purpose of the funeral song in Amos 5:1-15 was to shock the people into facing reality. If they persisted in their sins, they surely would die. If, on the other hand, they rejected evil and returned to God, they would live. The Lord’s character is such that He expects conformity to the divine will.
Amos invites the people not just to stop seeking evil but also to hate evil and love good. The commands in this section are progressive. The verbs to love (Heb. ‘ahav) and to hate (‘sane’) in the Bible often refer to decisions and actions, not simply to feelings and attitudes. In other words, the change in the people’s attitudes will lead to change in their actions.
In this context, what warning is found in Isaiah 5:20?
“All who in that evil day would fearlessly serve God according to the dictates of conscience, will need courage, firmness, and a knowledge of God and His word; for those who are true to God will be persecuted, their motives will be impugned, their best efforts misinterpreted, and their names cast out as evil. Satan will work with all his deceptive power to influence the heart and becloud the understanding, to make evil appear good, and good evil.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 431.
How can we learn to love the good and hate the evil if we can be deceived into calling evil good and good evil? What is our only protection against this deception?