Focus Verse: In you are people who accept bribes to shed blood; you take interest and make a profit from the poor. You extort unjust gain from your neighbors. And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign Lord. (12)
When individuals forget God, we give sin the opportunity to ruin our lives. When nations forget God, sin is unleashed to run rampant and through ungodly leaders the poor and needy are oppressed, foreigners are mistreated, and no regard is given to justice.
Focus Verse: “So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you. (48)
Samaria and Jerusalem are personified as two adulterous sisters named Oholah and Oholibah. Oholah was the older sister. Oholibah was the youngest. Instead of learning from the sins and subsequent punishment of her older sister, Oholibah repeated the exact same ungodly acts. This chapter says that she did even worse things than Oholah.
We are to learn from the mistakes and failures of others. We are not to imitate them. Why did God include the rebellion of Saul, the adultery of David, the wickedness of Jezebel, and the deceit of Ananias and Sapphira in the Bible? So we could imitate them? No! He included the bad and the ugly in Scripture that we may take warning and not repeat the same mistakes.
1 Peter 1
Focus Verse: Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. (8)
We have not seen God the Father, yet we believe in Him. We have not seen Jesus the Christ, yet we love Him. And we know without a shadow of a doubt that He loves us too. Therefore, we have joy – that is not affected by earthly negativity, violence, or grief – because our hope is alive. Blessed indeed are those who have not seen and yet have believed!