Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Reasonable, But . . .

No, my topic is not Zechariah’s first vision of horses, although those are interesting subjects. This happened to be the most interesting of the Zechariah graphics on Commons. What I want to think about today is in Zechariah’s seventh chapter where people came to the priests and prophets with a question:

And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years? (Zechariah 7:3 KJV)

The question really is: We’ve done this for many years, commemorating the burning of the temple. Should we still do it? The equivalent happens here in the United States (probably worldwide) when holidays come.

Should we commemorate Thanksgiving? After all, it was an invasion by Europe and eventually destroyed cultures. Why hold that memory. Frankly, that’s a bleak picture. That holiday does have roots in factual history, those who first came where here for freedom to worship and it took decades for adventurers to join in, once such a beautiful land became well known. Why not continue to give thanks? My family does, and will continue to do so for reasons behind our own faith.

For these Jews questioning priests, the Lord had an answer that fits for me, too:

Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? (Zechariah 7:5 KJV)

The reason God gives here can serve for me, too. I celebrate certain holidays because they are important to my belief in God, not for men.

In the next verses, God explains specifics for the memorials under question. Then comes verses where God gives specifics as to what should be done. The actions are applicable to any time, any people:

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. (Zechariah 7:9-10 KJV)

That is found across the Bible and are included in Jesus’ doctrine. The apostles repeated them and John used them as examples of faith:

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:15-18 KJV)

Unfortunately, the apostles’ teachings, Jesus’ preaching of doctrines, even God’s word to prophets usually ends up with:

But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 7:11-12 KJV)

Will we encounter that great wrath from the most powerful source? Will we respond in the same way, and will he, as here:

Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts: (Zechariah 7:13 KJV)

How reasonable is it for us to expect God to respond to our cries to Him -- when we ignore His words to us?

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