Today’s Scripture Reading: Zechariah 6:1-15; Ezra 5:3-6:14a; Zechariah 7:1-8:23
Have you ever wanted to do something special for someone but because you know them so well, you are concerned they will either–
- Not appreciate it
- Use it for harm
- Brag about it and cause dissension
- Lie about the reason you did it to them
In today’s reading our Heavenly Father had those same feelings about His people, the Jews. He had been so angry with them that He abandoned them to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who destroyed the Temple and exiled the people to Babylonia (Ezra 5:12). After 70 years God’s heart is once again tender towards His people.
“But now I will not treat the remnant of my people as I treated them before, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation.
But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!
For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I was determined to punish you when your ancestors angered me, and I did not change my mind, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
But now I am determined to bless Jerusalem and the people of Judah. So don’t be afraid.
But this is what you must do:
- Tell the truth to each other.
- Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace.
- Don’t scheme against each other.
- Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth.
I hate all these things, says the Lord.” –Zechariah 8:11-17
Friends, this isn’t the first time God mentions justice and mercy. These qualities are a big deal to our Heavenly Father; He doesn’t use the “hate” word that often.
Today’s Christian has a way of prioritizing sin, deciding which ones are worse than others.
God’s priorities are different than ours.
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
- To do what is right,
- To love mercy,
- And to walk humbly with your God. –Micah 6:8
Heavenly Father, help our hearts to be tender to the things that are most important to You. We want Your blessings. Help us not to tie Your hands. Help us to do what’s right; to love mercy and show it to everyone we come in contact with and to walk humbly before You.
© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Zechariah 9:1-14:21