ZECHARIAH‬ ‭7‬:‭5‬-‭14‬ ‭‬‬

““Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves? Isn’t this the same message the Lord proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah were well populated?’” Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other. “Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them. “Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. As with a whirlwind, I scattered them among the distant nations, where they lived as strangers. Their land became so desolate that no one even traveled through it. They turned their pleasant land into a desert.””

Zechariah‬ ‭7‬:‭5‬-‭14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God asks an important question of his people. “Who was all this really for?” By God’s response to Zechariah, he makes it clear that though penance is owed to him, he is more interested in a contrite heart that produces right behavior without the need for the heart strivings of men. You cannot unoffend an infinite being. God gives us the ability in his law to perform penitent acts of sacrifice for our sakes. He does this because our psyches are to fragile to accept grace with his judgment. We needlessly double down on sin and turn our hearts to stone. But his grace has always been there. We have only needed to accept it and let it grow us into who we were made to be. When we encounter difficulties in our walk, we need to rely on this aspect of his character to help us with the aspect of justice that we rightfully fear so much. This passage demonstrates that even in the Old Testament, God has always wanted a contrite heart and was always wanting to show his mercy and love to his own.

Published by Josh McGary

MY NAME IS JOSH MCGARY. First, I am a Pastor of a small church in Portland, Oregon named Aletheia Bible Fellowship. We call it ABF. I have been a pastor there for the better part of 20 years. I am very eclectic. What I love, I love loudly and immersively. I have notable collections of toys, funko pops, and vinyl. I also infamously love pop culture, comic books, technology, the arts, psychology and philosophy. https://sleek.bio/joshmcgary

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