8 Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, 9 “Thus says the Lord of hosts:
‘Execute true justice,
Show mercy and compassion
Everyone to his brother.
10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless,
The alien or the poor.
Let none of you plan evil in his heart
Against his brother.’
11 “But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. 12 Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. 13 Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,” says the Lord of hosts. 14 “But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate.” ~ Zechariah 7:8-14
Just like a ornery child that needs to be chastised, so were the people of Israel. And guess what? We, the people of America and every other country on the face of this planet, are also children who all-too-often are misguided, full of injustice, lacking mercy & compassion, oppressive in our nature, and whether we realize it or not have the tendency & nature to plan and commit evil. All so often, though we may regret it right afterward – yet, we do nothing to prevent the ultimate wrong we have committed against one of our neighbors, our brother or sister within the human race, who were created in the image of God.
The children of the Great I Am went and did it again. By refusing to heed the word of God and turning a deaf ear to God’s mandates, they simply ignore what is expected of them. I see much of the same thing (more so, in-fact!) in our society today. It is far more wide-spread with our children and our younger generation(s). Who will bring them up the right way after we failed to bring them up the right way? God had a tendency to cast the Hebrew people into the wind via conquest, having the up and move to another region, or going on a trek for 40 years – something that should have taken less than a year.
The choices between life and death were given to the Hebrew people:
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
But you should not just consider it an offer of Life & Death to the Hebrew people only, but also to you as a brother or sister in Christ, or one of the lost sheep of God’s flock. This was a promise to us, as God had, “…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…” (Ephesians 1:5) Also, it is through Abraham and his monumental faith that we can also claim son-ship:
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. ~~Galatians 3:26-29
We each have our own form of captivity. Pride, vanity, dishonesty, deceit, etc. I just finished watching one of my favorite movies: “KING OF KINGS” (1961). In it Jesus, played by Jeffrey Hunter, is speaking to the Centurion in order to see John the Baptist. When asked, Jesus tells the Centurion that he is there to “Free John.” The Centurion quizzically queries and Jesus tells him: “I have come to free John from within his cell. You can come and go as you please, but you are a prisoner within yourself, because you place no faith in anything but your sword.” I believe this kind of sums up our problems as the brotherhood of Christ…our lack of faith and the lack of sharing that faith with our family and friends! Cast away the disobedience to God in your life and protect yourself from captivity and self destructive behavior.
Save yourself the troubles of captivity by obeying Gods mandates, have faith in the God that created you and hold to the faith in His promises. Share God and His Word with everyone you come in contact with throughout your day. Even if it is something as simple as saying, “Godspeed to you!” or “God bless you!.” By injecting small things as such into your daily life, you will become more comfortable with it and as time goes on God will create a boldness in your life that you never would have expected. Just remember that the saving is up to God, but you must make people aware of God’s presence and His requirements.
Speak to your children especially as they are growing up (the most important impressionable time to teach them), your neighbors and friends, as well as family – near & far. Speak daily, speak often, and show your faith by your deeds…all-too-often, the deeds of we believers are far and away different than the spoken words of our lips.
God has created us for much more than we are presently doing my friends. And yet we set ourselves in captivity by going to the healthy to save them instead of seeking out the sick. Get out of your comfort zone and help in the Lord’s task to both Love God and Love your Neighbor (Matt 22:36-40; Deu 6:5; Lev 19:18.)
Stay vigilant! Stay vocal! Stay blessed!
MK Murphy, PhD