Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Pleasant Land Desolate

Zechariah 7

You may find it interesting that as I have been blogging about fasting, that I have not felt called to fast.  I cannot explain it except to say that when I asked God if He wanted me to fast during the period of studying about fasting and I felt Him impress that wasn't what He wanted for me.  I know I can be slow at times, but I couldn't understand why I felt so strongly God leading me to study and write about it yet not have me fast.  Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a pastor I work with and found myself saying, "I don't understand.  Maybe He is preparing my heart for a fast later.  Maybe He is just trying to teach me something."  I have to chuckle at myself because isn't God always teaching us something?  Today, I attended a one day conference entitled, "Jesus, Justice, and the Church," at Houghton College in Houghton, NY.  At this conference I was challenged to take action on what I have been reading about over the last week and even as I blogged about Micah 6:8.  So, with that in mind, please turn to Zechariah 7.

Before writing each of my posts, I pray for my heart.  I pray that God would till up the soil in my heart and make it fertile land and plant His seeds there.  I ask Him to soften the hard soil in my heart so that I can continue to learn and grow from Him.  I never cease to be amazed that as I ask Him to open my ears so I can hear what He wants to tell me that He really directs my path with where I am to go.  Today, God answered my prayer by sending me to Zechariah 7.  Do you see the similar themes that Isaiah 58 brings to our attention?  I want to look at this scripture for a few days, so today I am just going to take a look at the entire chapter.

Verse 7 says, "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?"    This is an important verse to keep in mind because the idea comes back at the end.  We know by verse 7 that when God was calling out to the Israelites to reform their ways they were still experiencing prosperity in the land.  Verses 13-14 tells us what the consequences became as a result of their refusal to listen to God, "'When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.'"  The words, "This is how they made the pleasant land desolate," keep ringing in my ears!

I don't want to make the soil in my heart desolate; I want it to be pleasant.  I want it to be bearing the fruit that God intends me to bear.  The thought that not loving others the way God wants us to could cause a desolation in my heart weighs heavy on me.  God has called us to justice, mercy, and compassion.  He has called us to do away with oppression.  He has called us to love which is going to require us to do more than talk about it.

Are you keeping the soil in your heart pleasant through obedience?

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