Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday in the Word


Zechariah 7
Justice and Mercy, Not Fasting
1 In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev. 2 The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melech, together with their men, to entreat the LORD 3 by asking the priests of the house of the LORD Almighty and the prophets, "Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?"
4 Then the word of the LORD Almighty came to me: 5 "Ask all the people of the land and the priests, 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? 6 And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? 7 Are these not the words the LORD proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?' "
8 And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah: 9 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.'
11 "But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry.
13 " 'When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,' says the LORD Almighty. 14 'I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land was left so desolate behind them that no one could come or go. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.' "
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Wow. What a scripture. I hope you really took the time to read the whole thing. If you didn't, will you go back and read it? It's good...a bit painful, but good.
I have to make a confession...when I got up this morning I didn't have my quiet time with God. I just got up...grabbed my coffee...turned on one of my morning God shows and popped open the laptop. Not a minute of quiet time...not a scribble in my prayer journal...not a Word of scripture did I read. I got up...and began this day on my own.
So I'm sitting here on the computer...checking email, reading blogs, sipping my coffee and then I think to myself, "Wow, it's Wednesday already." So I start thinking about what scripture I want to share. Typically, I've read a scripture during the past week that hit me right between the eyes and so I want to share it with you. But today...this was not the case. Truth be told, I haven't had a whole lot of quiet time with the Lord at all this week. (Which totally explains my whininess...my being overwhelmed...my full plate...my indecisiveness...etc.)
OK..so here I am...it's Wednesday...and I start trying to think of what scripture I want to share. I think and I think...and then I realize, I got nothin'. Nothin'. I'm empty.
And then it hits me...I'm trying to do this on my own, too! I'm trying to figure out what scripture I think you'd like to hear...what you'd benefit from...what will give you something to chew on for the week. But that's the problem...I AM TRYING to figure it out. At this realization I take a deep breath...stop what I'm doing...stop trying, stop figuring, stop thinking, stop, stop, stop! And I look up to the heavens and I say, "Lord. What would YOU like me to share today?"
And then the whisper..."Zechariah 7." So I go to Zechariah 7.
"Which verse, Lord?"
"The whole thing."
So there it is. The whole chapter of Zechariah 7. As I'm reading it, I kept thinking to myself that it was too negative...that it was harsh...that it wasn't uplifting and pleasant and encouraging. But...God said to share it. So I cut and pasted it to my blog...and then I read it again.
And I realized that, really...it IS encouraging.
Verses 11 and 12 really got me today...how stubborn I can be. How I can stop up my ears to the Lord...refuse to listen...walk away and do my own thing. Wow. Really? Who am I to ignore God? Who AM I? Nobody. It's only because of Him that I woke UP this morning...and I have the nerve not to thank Him for that? I have the nerve to just take that for granted? Who gives me my every breath? God. Who makes my heart beat? God. Who could snatch me off this earth at any given second? God. My life is in His hands...literally. And so is yours! Even if you don't believe it. That's the crazy part. That God is in control...even if you don't believe it.
For years and years I didn't believe. I just wasn't sure about God. I knew there had to be something out there...something bigger than me...something powerful. But not God.
I don't know why I refused Him for so long. I really don't. Maybe because I wanted to do my own thing? Maybe because I figured I was on my own and so there you have it...I don't need any one's help anyway? I don't know why.
What I DO know, without a doubt in my mind, is that when God showed Himself real in my life, I knew that I knew that I knew that He was real. And He loved me. And He had my best interest at heart. And He was there to help me find it.
I wish I could say that I live each day well. I wish I could say that I live for Him at every moment...in every way...at all times. I wish. But I don't. I don't. But the good part of that? His mercies are new each morning. He never leaves me nor forsakes me...even when I've turned my back on Him. He waits patiently for me to figure out I'm just going the wrong way...and He whispers for me to turn back around, set my eyes on Him, and continue down that narrow path He's paved for me. And He's right there to walk with me...or to carry me depending on the day.
So...while this scripture may seem harsh...it really IS an encouragement. It's a warning...like that one last warning you give to your child. You know the one, "OK, I'm counting to THREE!" It's a word from God trying to get our attention. He's a good Father...He means good and not harm...even His stern words are for encouragement and for our benefit. His stern words are because He loves us...just as we love our children even when we're stern.
What do you think? Are you being stubborn? Are you covering your ears singing "la la la" so that you don't have to hear what He wants to tell you? Well, maybe it's time to stop. Maybe it's time to listen. Maybe it's time to give God a chance...He loves you.

4 comments:

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

Very good passage - so applicable to not only our individual lives, but our nation! The line that got me was "...was it really for me that you fasted?" Do I really do things for the LORD and to draw near to Him or just to feel "spiritual"? Definitely something worth meditating on.

Thanks, Michelle.

Mari said...

Oh Michelle, you could have been writing that for me today as well. Wow. I didnt' have my quiet time either, as my grandson came early, but instead of grabbing even a few moments with God, I turned on the computer. mmmm.
Thank you for posting this, as it truly has encouraged my heart to do better and be still before God...and listen.

Knittymama said...

Wow, thanks for sharing.

I have to admit my quiet time with God has been pretty much non existent these days. I barely manage to think a quick "thank you" or pray a quick "help me" let alone take that time that is so important. Thanks for the encouragement to try to make that happen every day.

BahamaDawn said...

I am so glad i found your blog!! thanks for the reminder. I can be really good at saying, "la la la la la" when God is trying to speak to me! i need to slow down and listen more :)