The Minor Prophets Speak To Today
Zechariah 7:1-14 NLT
Do the stories in the Bible have relevance for today?
God says, "Definitely!"
They Came To Seek God's Favor
Where did they go?
They went to speak to the prophets and priests: the professional religious people. Their answer instead came to a non-professional prophet.
What was their motive?
The scripture says their motive was to seek God's favor. Where did that come? From a sense of the fulfillment of scripture - their return to the land of Judah and beginning to build the temple - in other words seeking favor for what they had done or what they had interpreted God to want? That would be like the pagan view. A sort of God you owe us. You owe us because of what we have done or you owe us because of what we have suffered.
How did they address God?
“Should we continue to mourn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction, as we have done for so many years?”
They indirectly mentioned what they had done. But it seemed like a logical question. Hey, we went back as you had promised so why should we mourn and fast over the past.
You Are Forgetting Something!
God first goes straight for the juggler.
"For whom did your really fast? Me or to please yourselves?"
Christian today, for whom do you participate in your religious activity - going to church, studying the Bible, praying, fasting, and having fellowship?
Isn't this the same message the Lord proclaimed years before through the prophets? Yes, this is the same message - the same question - God had asked years before before their exile.
This Is The Lord's Message
"Judge fairly; show mercy and kindness to one another; do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against one another."
Christian, too often these are the very sins of the elders and leaders in our churches today. Americans, these are also the very sins of the political parties and politicians you support today. And yet in the church, in your politics, you refuse to see your sin when you support these agendas and do not speak God's truth and warning to these errant leaders and yourselves.
"Your ancestors refused to listen to this message! They stubbornly put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing."
The Israelites came back from exile cured of idolatry but still out of focus - self-serving and ignoring the very message for which they were exiled.
I am terrified and dumbfounded when I read about the positions my church ancestors took about social security and the programs to take care of people during the Great Depression. They were as ungodly as those taken by a majority of the people in my present church affiliations and circles.
Christian today, are you also out of focus, self-serving, and ignoring the very message God has spoken again and again before Christ and since Christ? Yes, you are! And you cling to your traditions, your ancestors' way of living and thinking, your incomplete theologies that lack the major themes that God keeps speaking again and again. Yet, you seek my favor despite your unrepentance.
This happening to us in our countries today?
"They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or messages that the Lord of Heavens Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets."
This Is Why The Lord of Heavens Armies Was So Angry With Them
And yet we seek to justify the same stances today.
The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but we drop the yesterday and refuse to admit he still gets angry over the same things today!
When Does God Refuse To Listen To His Children
"Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me."
God is asking the Israelites who came for permission to stop fasting, "What past were you observing? A past of "doing" or a past of listening?
In other words are you listening yet?
As the words from a song popular in my youth: "They were not listening, they're not listening still, I guess they never will."
Christian, how about us? Are we listening but not hearing His words? Will we ever listen and hear? Or speaking back from the future to our time will God say, "I guess they never will."
Dog on the ground by 白士 李 some rights reserved @flickr.com