Give me a soft heart which hears You and responds to Your truth.
What is the most serious problem among the Israelites here?
For centuries the "Lord of armies" had defended the city of Jerusalem. But now Israel's God himself has determined to destroy Zion through invaders from "the north" (1), and a vivid poem (1-8) describes their coming. Feel the pathos in the phrase "so beautiful and delicate" (2). It is as if a rare, indeed priceless, vase is to be smashed to pieces! What on earth would make the Lord do such a thing?
Apart from a reference to "oppression" in verse 6, the main charge against God's people comes in verses 13 to 15. See how many different sins you can find mentioned in these verses. Now think of your own church, community or nation. Is there evidence of some of these sins there?
God's message to Moses explaining what he was like said he was "compassionate and gracious ... slow to anger" (Exod. 34:6). The Lord never loses his temper as we sometimes do! But when sins pile up and leaders even deny there is a problem (14), the time comes when God says, "Enough!" and judges severely.
Ask God for wisdom in how to confront the evils of greed, deceit and oppression. Speak honestly where they exist.
Father, help me to seek true and lasting peace and to be willing to honestly stand for it even when opposed.