“Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.” Zephaniah 3:14-20 (KJV)
What do I want for Christmas today?
I want to always be mindful of the negatives and the positives in God’s Word; and I want Christians all over the world to realize that without the negatives the positives do not have any use; keeping in mind “The Day of the LORD”
“Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; for the day of the LORD is at hand, for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited His guests.” Zephaniah 1:7 (NKJV)
Do we really stop to consider the way we live our lives? Are we a society that is consumed with doing our own thing; out for self fulfillment? It seems that way at times. Whether we like to admit it or not there is evil in the world. The only thing is who determines what is evil?
In our look at people we often see people joining in to help others. There have been many storms, tornadoes, tsunamis, as well as fires and earthquakes; and multitudes of neighbors come and help one another recover. That is a good thing. Right? I certainly see it as good. Yet there is something wrong.
The something wrong is how people react toward God and His Word.
My reading today was from Zephaniah 1 through Zechariah 9. There is a two chapter prophet within this reading by the name of Haggai where I got the title for this post. Four times Haggai uses the word “Consider”. Twice is to the returned people from Babylon to “Consider your ways”, and that is in the first chapter.
Though the words are not used in Zephaniah or Zechariah the cry is still with both of these prophets as well.
Zephaniah sees there is a departure from the LORD and calls for the people to return or suffer judgment. The prophecy takes place during the reign of Josiah, king of Judah; and Josiah was one who did right in the eyes of the LORD. Yet, even taking away the idols themselves does not remove the idol from the heart. They were still practicing the evil of their hearts.
“I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD. ‘I will also stretch out Mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; and them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; and them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for Him.” Zephaniah 1:2-6 (KJV)
The LORD defines “evil” much different than man does. Evil in God’s view is when His people turn from Him to serve and trust other things, such as gold, silver, friends, family; comfort and pleasure. Evil is also when the unbelieving refuse to believe in Him. The LORD desires those who are His to seek Him, to inquire of Him.
The prophet Haggai writes during the time of the return of Israel to the land of Promise, and they need to rebuild the temple, but they are neglecting doing so. They have their own houses built, but neglect the temple. Meaning, that they are neglecting the worship of the Most High GOD. Hear the word of the LORD through Haggai,
“Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, ‘Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; ‘Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:3-6
The implication and clear message is that they are lacking due to their neglect of worshipping the LORD. That was their reason for being returned to Jerusalem; that is to rebuild the temple; yet they were neglecting the very One who was fulfilling His Word to them and for them. Notice the following word from the LORD;
“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:7
Even before the temple is completed God gives the people promise and hope for days to come. The “desire of nations” is the Messiah of Israel. He is the Savior of the world. The seed of David. The Prince of peace. Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. He is the Son of God. His name is Jesus. He is the desire of nations.
Zechariah speaks of this One as well;
“And speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, ‘Behold the Man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD: even He shall build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” Zechariah 6:12-13 (KJV)
So, you may think that you are a “righteous person”, but by God’s standard you nor myself measure up. We fall short. There is only one hope to be rid of the evil in our hearts and lives. That is by believing and receiving the gift God gives in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. That gift is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins. He was buried, and He rose again bodily from the grave. He cares for you. God cares enough to give the very best. Consider your ways.
-Tim A. Blankenship