URC Daily Devotion 6 June 2023

Zechariah 7:8-14

The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying:  Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgements, 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.


This passage is presented as an oracle to Zechariah’s current community in which God reminds them of why the exile happened.  It summarises the pre-exilic prophetic teaching about social justice and covenant commitment; and accuses former generations of refusing to listen.  It implies that they left it too late to turn back to God and consequently both Israel and Judah were scattered as God exercised righteous judgment upon them.  

This is not the picture of God that we’ve come to know through Jesus; but it was mainstream theology at the time.  It argues against polytheistic ideas suggesting that the Babylonian gods were stronger than the God of Israel; and suggestions that God had broken the covenant, by emphasizing that it was the people who breached it.  

It is important to recognize that theology, (talking about God), has to evolve in response to events in history; and as God continues to reveal more and more of the divine nature through word and spirit.

In Zechariah’s time the oracle also serves to challenge the restored community about what now God required of them.  Maintaining covenant by showing concern for the vulnerable in their midst, being truthful and kind towards one another; and heeding what God was saying through the prophets of their day.​

As Christians, our theology must never remain static as society evolves and we are challenged by God to discover what being Christlike means in today’s world.  God still requires us to uphold the eternal values of the covenant – justice, mercy, humility towards God (Micah 6:6) – and to be aware that we provoke God’s anger if we turn away and block our ears.  Thanks to Christ we have the assurance of forgiveness whenever we fail; but only if we are contrite, turn back to God and change our ways.


Living God, speak to us in our time to reveal ever more of your nature and purposes.  Help us discern your voice in the debates of our society as we grapple with the realities that trouble people across the world.

May we always exercise justice, tempered by mercy; and, as forgiven people, offer forgiveness to any who wrong us.  

In all things may your will be done, we humbly pray. Amen

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