Bible Reference: Zechariah 7:9-14
Translation: The Message (MSG)
Bible Text: 9-10 Well, the message hasn’t changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now: “‘treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil.’ 11–13 “But did your ancestors listen? No, they set their jaws in defiance. They shut their ears. They steeled themselves against God’s revelation and the Spirit-filled sermons preached by the earlier prophets by order of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. And God became angry, really angry, because he told them everything plainly and they wouldn’t listen to a word he said. 13–14 “So [this is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies said] if they won’t listen to me, I won’t listen to them. I scattered them to the four winds. They ended up strangers wherever they were.
OBSERVATION: God’s commands are condensed in the first part of our Scripture today. In the middle part Zechariah reflects on all the effort made to obey God’s commands, and in the latter part God finally issues His reaction to the lack of desire and commitment by mankind to honor Him – the giver and sustainer of life. Unfortunately, not a whole lot has changed over the years, so let us meditate on the heart of God and how He reacts to our hardened hearts and actions. Perhaps today God might be allowed to have His way in our lives.
APPLICATION: I am fascinated how history repeats itself in spite of the lessons we should learn from our past. Much like Zechariah did when sharing the visions he was blessed with from God, our pastors today dig into God’s Word seeking what God might reveal to them that would bless and/or convict their parishioners. They share with us the consequences of disobedience by our ancestors, hoping that we would see the error of our ways, turn from our sin and obey God without the need for further consequences. A few sins were mentioned in verses 9 and 10, and not only do we still see these unfortunate sins recurring today, but they were also concerns that reoccurred in the New Testament. Several translations used the same verbiage in verse 11 that indicates to me that it is of grave concern to our Master. I believe that it truly concerns Him when He sees us plot and scheme against one another. When we look for ways to hurt one another. He announces this as pure evil and I believe this is something that we must not only be on guard for personally, but also look for ways to help each other fight against this awful sin. Let’s learn to pray for each other, that we would see the good in fellow humans and learn to celebrate it. Let us learn to pray for those who find it challenging to do life just like Jesus would have done it, or perhaps like He expects of us. I believe the biggest thing that got my attention in these verses today, is the consequences of disobedience. The Word says “if we don’t listen to (obey) God, He won’t listen to us” Oh my, oh my! Do you suppose that this is the reason we feel like we sometimes hit brick walls with our prayers, or feeling ignored by God? There’s an old spiritual that I learned later in life that I am reminded of as I meditated on these words today: “It’s me, it’s me oh Lord, Standing in the need of prayer“, it’s not my brother or my sister that I need to be most concerned about, but I need to get my act together first and take care of my personal cleansing before God first, before ever attempting to help a brother or sister where I easily, and glaringly, see obvious sin. I don’t know about you friend, but I need God to listen to me, so it is imperative that I listen to Him and obey Him. Will you commit to doing the same? It is so critical that we have believers who are actually getting through to God with our prayers – our needs and concerns. Let’s do our part in being obedient.
PRAYER: Dear God, please forgive us for so easily attempting to do Your job by zoning in on the wrongs of others, while overlooking the sin in our own lives. “It’s me, it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer – not my brother or my sister, but me….” I need thee every hour of every day, for in my own strength I cannot overcome the evil pull of this life. Please touch the lives of each one that will read this devotional. Please impact our lives with a desire to surrender full control of our lives to You so that we all may be usable instruments for Your kingdom work here on this earth. I humbly ask these things in the wonderful, and strong name of Jesus, AMEN!