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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, April 2, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Zechariah 7:2, 8–14; 8:1–8

Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men, to entreat the favor of the Lord,

The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. But they refused to listen, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears in order not to hear. They made their hearts adamant in order not to hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. Just as, when I called, they would not hear, so, when they called, I would not hear, says the Lord of hosts, 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 a pleasant land was made desolate.

The word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts shall be called the holy mountain. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the Lord of hosts? Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will save my people from the east country and from the west country; and I will bring them to live in Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness. (NRSV)

We have all encountered that voice at one time or another in our lives. That relentless voice, filled to the brim with reason, logic, and truth. Yet wrapped in our own stubbornness and pride, we refuse to heed it. Why is that, when we know in our heart that guiding voice to be just and right? Is it a part of human nature, an unavoidable vice from which we simply cannot escape?

How different could the world be, though, if we instead chose to listen to that voice, not just with our ears but with our hearts and minds and, perhaps most importantly of all, with our actions. A world in which true justice was regularly executed, a world where we greeted everyone with mercy and compassion, a world in which we did not view one another as strangers, but rather as brothers and sisters in Christ, for we are all God’s children, are we not?

This text leaves me with perhaps more questions than I have answers, but it also leaves me with the beautiful possibility of the world we can create together, if we so choose to listen, if we so choose to answer when we are called. For we are reminded in Zechariah that despite our many flaws, God will always beckon us back home and be our one true God of truth and righteousness.

Dear Lord, grant us the wisdom to hear your voice and the courage to answer your call. Amen.

Written by Stephanie Jenks, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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