Seek the Lord and live
Although God’s judgment is coming, there is still a way of escape. Although Amos is speaking of physical life this is also the way to escape eternal judgment in hell as well. God does not give them instructions as to some religious deed. He instead points them to Himself. If they will seek Him He will spare them from His coming judgment.
Religious deeds will not help
Once again, God speaks out against their religious deeds. Like Cain, Saul, etc. their sacrifices are only bringing greater judgment. God is not looking for religious deeds. He is looking for repentance, brokenness, and faith. One of the great reasons God’s judgment is coming is because of their religious deeds; they are not worshipping the One True God in the way He desires to be worshipped.
God’s desires justice
In turning to God they must do more than just repent of their idolatry and self-righteousness; they must repent of their injustices. God contrasts their hearts with His own. God lifts up the poor and broken at tremendous cost to Himself; they oppress the poor and broken for their own greed. God calls these various forms of injustice “mighty sins” indicating how heinous they are in His sight.
The people wanted sin more than life
The main problem with everything that is going on though is not found within God; it is found within man. Even when faced with certain judgment men would rather hold on to their self-righteous religion and live for themselves while oppressing others. God offers them the opportunity to repent, but they find doing what is just as a bitter poison to drink. They hated anyone who would speak out in defense of the poor and oppressed. Given the choice between the death injustice brought and the life God freely offered they chose death.
Are you trusting in your religious works to save you? Will you turn to God through His Son Jesus? Will you turn from your righteous deeds to Jesus? Will you stand up for the oppressed and speak out against injustice?