THIS IS WHAT THE LORD ALMIGHTY SAYS: "Administer true justice: show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other." Zechariah 7:9-10. Given God's definition of justice, when we Christians are measured on God's scales, will we be found lacking?
Perfectly appointed by the Almighty 2500 years ago on the 4th day of God’s 9th month, December 1 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar, God's Word transcends the partitions of time, wielding a double-edged sword with precision accuracy as the Almighty cuts deeply into the hearts of the very souls called by His Name.
"In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev. The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the Lord by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?” Zechariah 7:1-3
For 70 years, Judah had memorialized the attack on their capital and their nation by adding a national day of fasting to God's appointed Holy Days. Without realizing it, their appointment had taken on a life of its own, binding them to a meaningless worship of their own making.
God's reply was succinct, and called out their religious, hypocritical motives. He pointed out that they really hadn't been worshiping Him in the first place. They had just been going through the motions to appease themselves. "Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? 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?’” Zechariah 7:5-7
“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’ Zechariah 7:9-10
Living in today’s world fraught with injustice, one of the hardest battles we’ll ever fight is staying grounded and focused on the Word of God Almighty. Right this very moment, many of us are already preparing our "Godly" defense with a multitude of excuses and arguments, determined that we have the “right” as Americans and the duty as Christians to choose how to administer our brand of justice, and to personally execute right and wrong.
Does a Christian really want to claim that right? Jesus Himself said that if we want to become his disciple, we must turn away from ourselves, and our perceived rights. His command is repeated in Matthew, Mark and Luke. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"
"Right" this very moment, God's Word is reminding every Christian in America that the humble stance that DISREGARDS perceived rights is exactly the mindset of Christ Himself. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:3-8.
Only when we submit our lives to the Word of God for review, will we be humbled, giving us the capacity to administer true justice in the world around us, just as Jesus teaches in Matthew 7:1-5: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
When we move forward in this world in the humble Spirit of Jesus, we understand that true justice cannot be legislated through national laws or handed down by a Supreme Court Justice. Indeed, the very Constitution of the United States CANNOT deliver it or guarantee it. True justice emanates from the heart of God Himself and is completed through the heart and life of every true Christian. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8.
God's Word is mightier than any government or weapon forged on this earth. Any fears that we may be left vulnerable by following His direction are alleviated in a single Psalm, which announces that justice is GUARANTEED by our Father in Heaven. “Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.” Psalm 37:27-29.
In fact, the Christian administering true justice can change the entire world. “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Proverbs 21:15. If we really want to terrorize the terrorists, we just found out how.
However, the one who truly knows the Lord does not bask in the victories of this world. Our one and only boast is that we know Him, and that He is working through us to change the world by His love, justice and righteousness. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.’” Jeremiah 9:23-24.
The true Christian also understands that we simply can't come up with our own brand of justice, and label it "God's Will". That mindset just reveals who we are, and who we aren't. “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.” Proverbs 28:5.
Now we can see the importance of the scripture at the beginning of today's lesson. True justice can only come from the heart aligned with God’s Word through the gift of His Son, Jesus, and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. The paramount importance of caring for the widow, the fatherless, the foreigner and the poor will unequivocally be acknowledged by the heart regenerated by the Holy Spirit. And in that same heart, the desire for retaliation and plotting evil against others, DOES NOT EXIST.
God's appointed Word for today is the sad lesson of another nation who claimed to call on the Name of the Lord, yet willfully refused to acknowledge His call for true justice. “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.” Zechariah 7:11-12.
As bad as things are, we can always make them a lot worse by not bowing to God's Word. Indeed, scripture teaches that our brand of justice is GUARANTEED to deliver HIS vengeance.
Do we really want to anger God Almighty? Are we really prepared for His indignant and fiery response? “‘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.’” Zechariah 7:13-14.
We close today's lesson by repeating the important question posed at the beginning and adding another that could make the difference between life and death. Given God's definition of justice, when we Christians are measured on God's scales of justice, will we be found lacking? Could it be that today, through the power of His appointed Word, God is extending a second chance for "Christian America" to be humbled and broken of their haughty and prideful spirit?
"This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice: show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’” Zechariah 7:9-10