How many times has God told me what to do, and I did not follow what He said? To be honest, even I, do not know the answer to that question. Only God knows. And that is sad, just as I find it sad to read again about God sending another prophet to warn them and they turned a deaf ear. God called them out on making their man-made “fast” months, that had nothing to do with Him, and eating and drinking only to please themselves. (Zech.7:5-6) Or as I understand it to be…living life without God’s interference.
The only thing God ever wanted was for them to stand out and be different from the rest of the world. He wanted them to execute true justice, show mercy and compassion, every man to his brother, to not oppress the widow, orphan, sojourner or poor. And for none of them to contemplate evil deeds in their heart towards his brother. (Zech. 8-10) It might not have been easy, but what if each individual got it right 80% of the time? It still would be a much better atmosphere to live in. What if I got it right 80% of the time, and every other person who follows God got it right 80% of the time? Would the atmosphere be different to live in today? I think it would! It is the same as when God asks of us to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Where did I get off course? When did I, just like Israel, start living only to please me?
So once again God sent a prophet to the people warning of their behavior. Did they say or do anything different this time? Sadly not!
Zechariah 7:11 (MEV): But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears so that they should not hear. They made their hearts like a diamond so as not to hear the instruction and words that the Lord of Hosts sent by His Spirit through the former prophets, and there was great anger from the Lord of Hosts.
Therefore, it happened that as I called, and they would not hear, so they called and I would not hear, says the Lord of Hosts. So, I scattered them among all the nations whom they did not know, so the land was left desolate behind them with no one coming or going. And they made a desirable land desolate.
Can you see them sticking their fingers in their ears? I can. It seems so childish, but what it showed was, that they made a choice not to follow God’s ways, and nothing was going to change their mind. But it also meant that when they needed help, they were on their own, because God would not interfere with their choices. It is the same with me. I’d like to think that I am different, somewhat better than them. But the truth is, by doing so, I am judging them, something God specifically said to leave up to Him. I pray that God will change my heart! The once called “Promised Land” was now empty and desolate. Is my heart desolate? Or, is it full? That is a choice I need to make second by second.
But God doesn’t give up on Jerusalem, and He doesn’t give up on me. One day Jerusalem will be called a city of faithfulness and the mountain of the Lord. Will I be called faithful too?
In that day, older men and women will sit in the streets of Jerusalem. Boys and girls will once again play in open places without fear. There will be peace in the land, and it will produce crops, and the trees will produce fruit. The rain will fall from heaven. But it gets even better! He will bring them from the nations they were scattered to, and they will be for Me as a people, and I will be for them as God, with faithfulness and righteousness. (Zech. 8:4-8) Finally, Hallelujah!
Zechariah 8:13-17 (MEV): And, as you have been like a curse among the nations, O house of Israel and house of Judah, I will deliver you, and you will be a blessing. Fear not, and strengthen your hands! Thus says the Lord of Hosts; Just as I had determined to punish you when your fathers incited Me to wrath, says the Lord of Hosts, I did not relent. So again, have I purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear!
These are the things you will do: Speak truth each to his neighbor, and make judgments in your gates that are for truth, and justice, and peace. Let none of you consider evil plans in your heart against your neighbor, and do not love false oaths, for I hate all these things, says the Lord.
God never changes. Nor does his desires for how we love Him, how we live, and how we treat one another.
One day His temple will be rebuilt. He will draw ten men from every language of the nations and they will take hold of the garment of the Jew, saying “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you”. (Zech. 8:23) How special it will be for Gentiles and Jews working together for one purpose because they know God is there. Unity is a powerful thing. Do I draw people to God because they can see that God is with me?
So, love what brings truth and peace. (Zech. 9:19d)
1 John 4, talks a lot about love. Verse 18 says “that there is no fear in love and perfect love casts out fear because fear has to do with punishment.’ The only one who loves this way is God. Only He can be perfect. But, it is something we can strive for. God loved us so much that He sent Jesus in the flesh. Scripture tells us that if we believe this, we are children of God and if we don’t, we are not.
Also, if we believe Jesus came from God, in the flesh, then God gives us His Spirit. John 4:1 says not to believe every spirit, for all are not from God. But only believe in the spirit that says Jesus has come in the flesh. That spirit is of God. And, the Spirit of God gives us power to do things we couldn’t do on our own.
1 John 4:4 (MEV): You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Rest in that, and love one another with a Godly type of love.
Father God, I pray for Holy boldness for everyone reading this, including me! Boldness to love one another as You have loved us! We may not always feel like it, or understand why we have to, but help us to do it anyway, because we are Your children! Thank you for Jesus, thank you for the Spirit and please give us the discernment so that we do not follow the wrong spirit, but only the one that leads us to You. Let it be so Lord! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!