Lent Devotional: Zechariah 7:9-10
by Jonathan Haefs
Zechariah 7:9-10 (click here)
Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another,  do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” (Zechariah 7:9-10)
I’ve lived in the South my entire life. This is home
And, there are a great many things I love about the South… there are also things I could do without… and then there are some things that kinda fall in the middle… things like “southern courtesy.”
On the one hand, I love it that we all (mostly) treat each other with respect and kindness. It does my should good every time a waitress I’ve never met calls me hon’ or baby.
On the other hand, I’m never quite sure if people actually mean what they say… sometimes I doubt if I mean what I say! We even have phrases that are specifically known for being externally nice while meaning something completely different… phrases like “Bless his heart!”
God is not after a people who possess southern courtesy, but who love sacrificially. He doesn’t want a people who hide behind words like “bless her heart,” but a people who live out of a transformed heart!
The prophet Zechariah reveals the heart of God as he calls the people to mere surface level kindness, but to action rooted in heartfelt affection… “let none of you devise evil against another IN YOUR HEART.”
This is a call away from surface action while still having a heart centered on oneself. This is even clearer just a few verses earlier… in Zechariah 7:5-6 God says, “When you… was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?” These people went through “worship” actions of fasting and feasting, but it was all for themselves, for their own reputation.
These people need transformed hearts… and so do we.
If we are going to be a cruciform community that shows true kindness, mercy, and justice… we cannot do this on our own… we must humble ourselves and ask the Lord to give us these things by the power of his Holy Spirit, through his Son Jesus. We can only be a cruciform community when we are empowered by the one who was crucified.