"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these.
For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;
If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever."
This chapter is interesting, and it talks about some bad things that were going on. Idol worship, child sacrifice, profaning the temple... really bad stuff. And even so, God asks his people to change, to come back to him. Even when he knows that they won't listen (see verse 27). Luckily, this isn't the only chance they had as a people... and for us, so many years later, whether their spiritual or literal descendants, it isn't the only chance for us. God wants to save us all, and he asks us to amend our ways. He says "to your hurt" because he knows that when we do evil things that it harms us, and pulls us further away from him. If we want to be close to God and dwell in his land, then we have to learn how... otherwise we'll have to live elsewhere. And some of the things to learn are executing judgment, not oppressing people, not murdering people, and not worshipping anything but God. :) Maybe we have some of those down already, but maybe not all. Judging righteously, or not judging at all is a tough one. As is not oppressing strangers, orphans, and widows. Even if we aren't specifically targeting them, if we are oppressing anyone, they might fall into those categories. Strangers are everywhere. :) Today, let's work on amending our ways. Let's not harm ourselves by doing evil. Let's take our chance, listen to God, let go of our bad habits, and be kind to the people around us.