Sunday, May 28, 2006

Helping God’s Hearing - Zechariah 7

Sermon Notes from Zech. 7

Setting: 518 BC - Post-exilic, i.e. back in the land. Same era as Haggai, Malachi. “In the fourth year of King Darius…” (vs. 1 - ESV)

The Delegation’s Question: Now that we are back in the land, shall we continue the Memorial Fasts from when we lost the Temple & were exiled?
2 Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men to entreat the favor of the LORD, 3 saying to the priests of the house of the LORD of hosts and the prophets, "Should I weep and abstain in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?" (ESV)

The LORD’s Answer / Question: 4 Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me: 5 "Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? 6 And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves? 7 Were not these the words that the LORD proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, with her cities around her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited?"

The Heart of it – A Call to Repentance, Righteousness & Reminder:
8 And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, (cf. 7:1; 8:1; 18)

9 "Thus says the LORD of hosts,
Render true judgments,
show kindness and mercy to one another,
10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless,
the sojourner, or the poor,
and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart."

11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. 12 They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts. 13 "As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear," says the LORD of hosts, 14 "and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate." - ESV

1. Sacred acts – if empty or misguided - can be deadly in their deception

2. More important than a Fast is Obedience: Loving God & Others

3. To not repeat history, learn from it! Keep the “they” vs. 11 a they.

4. God not listening (vs. 13)? Who started it (vs. 11-14)? Repent.

5. Though God scattered, He restored. Practice righteousness (vs. 8-10)!

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