Getting Away with It

Mark Fackler

READ : Zechariah 11:4-6

They shall devastate the earth. (v. 6)

If Abraham Lincoln had surrendered to Jefferson Davis after Bull Run, would we honor him? If Churchill had given in to Hitler’s plans, would we still call him great? Not likely. Great leaders are supposed to secure victory for us, not to surrender. They are sworn to defend.

Likewise, God was the sworn defender of Israel. So, what’s happening here? It seems as if God is washing his hands, saying “Have it your way. I’ve told you long enough.” God seems to be giving up.

The prophets saw many sides of God, including his shepherd side. God wants us moving in the direction of righteousness. In the prophet’s eye God is like a shepherd at the end of a long trek toward grassland: He’s tired, and his patience has worn thin. For the prophets, that fine line between divine fatigue, frustration, and anger sometimes erupts into judgment—God’s fearsome cleansing of his people’s stubborn sin. Sin must be purged. God’s people must be turned back to God’s path, away from pride and greed.

Have you been excusing persistent sin in your life? Though God is all kindness and compassion, perhaps you have a false confidence that your sin carries no consequences. Fear God’s righteous judgment, the prophets beg—fear God’s patience wearing thin!

PRAYER

Forgive us, Lord, and give us sturdy hearts to follow your path.