BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on
Understanding to grow in
Human nature doesn't change. Two sins are highighted in the northern kingdom that can be just as present today. The first, is that of nominal religion. They went through the motions of rituals and festivals (9v4-5) that should have honoured the LORD, whilst dishonouring him by their idolatry and opposition to his spokesmen (9v7-10). Similarly, people can attend church and call themselves Christians, whilst opposing those who teach God's word because they don't like it, and choosing instead their own self-made beliefs. The second sin, is that of self-reliance. Rather than seek and trust God when faced with oppressive empires, they assumed their military might would be sufficient (10v13-14). Likewise, we can think our own programs, organisation or effort, can free us from our wrongdoing or from troubles. The fact is that both sins display a lack of genuine faith. And just as Israel had to eventually face judgment for them, so those who commit them still. Whilst those who "seek the LORD" through repentance and faith in Christ, will be saved (10v12). As you read note the penalties the people would have to face.
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself:
1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this.
2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that home.
Devotion to offer up
You could read this aloud and perhaps as a springboard to further prayer.