“I want to heal Israel, but its sins are too great. Samaria is filled with liars. Thieves are on the inside and bandits on the outside! Its people don’t realize that I am watching them. Their sinful deeds are all around them, and I see them all."
- God sees and knows everything. We, like Israel, often forget this. thoughts like, "No one will ever know," or "no one is watching" may tempt us to try to get away with sin. If you are facing difficult temptations, you will be less likely to give in if you remind yourself that God is watching.
- Ezek 24:13 - "Your impurity is your lewdness and the corruption of your idolatry. I tried to cleanse you, but you refused. So now you will remain in your filth until my fury against you has been satisfied.”
- Sometimes He tries to purify us through difficulties and troublesome circumstances. When you face tough times, allow the sin to be burned from your life. Look at your problems as opportunities for your faith to grow.
- Jer 2:19 – “Your wickedness will bring its own punishment. Your turning from me will shame you. You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the Lord your God and not to fear him. I, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
- Sometimes we lose focus and don’t realize our actions. We’re the only ones accountable for our actions, and God will punish us for them if we don’t ask for forgiveness.
“The people of Israel mingle with godless foreigners, making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake! Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength, but they don’t even know it. Their hair is gray, but they don’t realize they’re old and weak. Their arrogance testifies against them, yet they don’t return to the Lord their God or even try to find him.”
- How do we “mingle” with them, but not take on their actions? Where do you draw the line?
- The half-baked cake can also be related to only loving God halfway… when actually He wants our full devotion.
“The people of Israel have become like silly, witless doves, first calling to Egypt, then flying to Assyria for help. But as they fly about, I will throw my net over them and bring them down like a bird from the sky. I will punish them for all the evil they do.”
- We often go to parents or friends for help, when God is the one who can solve our problems. (Even though there is such thing as seeking wise counsel, we still need to turn to Him.)
“What sorrow awaits those who have deserted me! Let them die, for they have rebelled against me. I wanted to redeem them, but they have told lies about me.They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts. Instead, they sit on their couches and wail. They cut themselves, begging foreign gods for grain and new wine, and they turn away from me.”
- Amos 2:8 – “At their religious festivals, they lounge in clothing their debtors put up as security. In the house of their god, they drink wine bought with unjust fines.”
- What do we use as security instead of Him?
“I trained them and made them strong, yet now they plot evil against me. They look everywhere except to the Most High. They are as useless as a crooked bow. Their leaders will be killed by their enemies because of their insolence toward me. Then the people of Egypt will laugh at them.”
- A crooked bow is unreliable. Its arrows miss the target, and its owner would be quite vulnerable in battle. Life without God is as unreliable as a crooked bow. Without God’s direction, our thoughts are filled with lust, cheating, selfishness, and deceit. As long as we are warped by sin, we will never reach our true potential.
- Nahum 1:9 – “Why are you scheming against the Lord? He will destroy you with one blow; He won’t need to strike twice!”
- Psalm 78:57 – “They turned back and were as faithless as their parents. They were as undependable as a crooked bow.”
- (Not saying our parents are faithless…) But our generation is “louder” and more active in their faith than our parents and grandparents. And we talked about how we come to college and develop our faith, and why we do what we do, etc.