Let’s Try This Again



Scripture

Zech. 7:8   The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying: 9 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; 10 do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. 11 But they refused to listen, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears in order not to hear. 12 They made their hearts adamant in order not to hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from the Lord of hosts.

Observation

For some reason the people whom God had chosen refused to be obedient. They were hung up on legalistic issues such as fasting but refused to see that God wanted them to help transform society by practicing justice and having a great love for mercy. If this were true, they would tend to the welfare of the community and the result would be peace. These words are a reminder, God speaking once again to the people, admonishing them of priorities. They mismanaged their fasts and what they needed to do was reform their entire lives. 

Application

There are two ways in which we can focus our lives. Either we focus on the negative, and that which we shouldn’t do, or we focus on the positive, and that which we are called to do. You see these two responses in most of the politically and socially charged questions of the day. When we respond out of fear, we will begin to argue about the wonderful ways in which we have been following rules and putting up fences. The result is an isolated Christianity which pats itself on the back for not allowing the world to contaminate their lives. 

Let’s try this again. The prophet is telling God’s people that you have gotten hung up on the wrong the things. Pull down those fences and mingle with the widow, the orphan, the alien and the poor. No, they may not normally be found in our neighborhood, but go and find them. Spend time with the marginalized and there you will begin to discover a heart filled with love for neighbor. Our love of God will compel us to love our neighbor and do everything that we can to “render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another.” We will find ways to stop oppressing the vulnerable and we will never use them for our own good. 

They were fasting for their own pride, not for the sake of the LORD. Let’s try this again — nothing is to be done for our own sakes, but compelled by our love for God which will be expressed in love of others. The ways in which we treat the marginalized reveals our love for God. 

Prayer


Lord, please provoke me to go to the margins with you. Amen. 

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