Behold, the days come, said the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water…
The "sin of Samaria" means the idolatry of Samaria. The words suggest a thought or two in relation to religious sincerity.
I. RELIGIOUS SINCERITY IS NO PROOF OF THE ACCURACY OF RELIGIOUS CREED. Those Israelites seem to have been sincere in their worship of the golden calf. "They swore by it." That dumb idol to them was everything. To it they pledged the homage of their being. A man is sincere when he is faithful to his convictions; but if his convictions are unsound, immoral, ungodly, his sincerity is a crime. The fact that thousands have died for dogmas is no proof of the truth of their dogmas. The words suggest —
II. THAT RELIGIOUS SINCERITY IS NO PROTECTION AGAINST THE PUNISHMENT THAT FOLLOWS ERROR. "They shall fall, and rise no more." The sincerity of the Israelites in their worship in Bethel and at Dan prevented not their ruin. There are those who hold that man is not responsible for his beliefs — that so long as he is sincere he is a true man, and all things will go well with him. In every department of life God holds a man responsible for his beliefs. If a man take poison into his system, sincerely believing that it is nutriment, will his belief save him?
Parallel VersesKJV: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: