A meditation to Zechariah 7.
OBEDIENCE is shaped in all sorts of forms, and unfortunately obedience may occasionally be shaped by a covertly disobedient heart. Such a legalistic obedience obeys God’s rules but does not genuinely trust in the will of God, for instance, the fasting of the exiles in the fifth and seventh months for seventy years. Somehow they had lost their way; their fasting was not really done to honour the Lord. They fasted but they wasted their ‘devotion’ because they didn’t do it for the right reasons.
We have the same problem. Many times I’ve completed tasks diligently, but without the heart of joy God willed me to have. At other times I’ve done the right thing without the right attitude, which just isn’t right. But much more a concern than these two generalised examples is the ‘obedience’ that also seeks to manipulate.
Many of the rulers and powerbrokers in the Bible ran afoul of God because they were seen to keep the law but with the wrong motive. As a result they used power subversively and people under them, often the vulnerable, were abused.
When the Word of the Lord came to Zechariah at verse 9 it was in the form of the Prophets of old — a pre-exilic Word — a recounting of the sins Israel committed before the exile that caused it. This Word sounds remarkably like Micah 6:8. And this chapter overall has the mood of Hosea 6:6 and Isaiah 58:3.
True leaders act justly, and they show kindness and mercy; their heart — the seat of their intentions — is steadfast in humility before the Lord.
True leaders never expose the vulnerable and they don’t devise evil in their hearts. But if they do either of these things inadvertently they’re quick to repent. They do not do what Zechariah cites of the leaders of old, who “stopped their ears from hearing…” (Verse 11)
The key test of our faith in the realm of relational life, whether we’re leaders or not, is an ethical test; a moral scrutiny. The Lord misses nothing. We get away with nothing. And why would we wish to — if we have a conscience?
If we refuse to listen to our Lord he will refuse to listen to us; we’ll end up banished.
But if we have a healthy fear of the Lord we’ll prosper. And so will others around us.
The opportunity of leadership is not power for ourselves but blessing for others.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.