Finding Mercy in Exile


How often does the Lord need to use our circumstances or pain or other forms of discipline before we will humble ourselves before him? We find today that the path of mercy with God is a path of repentance, humility, and obedience. Ball in our court…

1 In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo:

2 “The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. 4 Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. 5 Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?

“Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’”

12 Then the angel of the Lord said, “Lord Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years?” 13 So the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.

16 “Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the Lord Almighty.

17 “Proclaim further: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.’”
Zechariah 1:1-6, 12-13, 16-17

We see a little history lesson in Zechariah’s prophecy: Israel had angered God by not listening to him or paying attention to him.  Therefore, God overtook them.  The people received the word from Zechariah and admitted that the Lord had done what the people deserved.  Finally, they are humble before the Lord…

How often does the Lord need to use our circumstances or pain or other forms of discipline before we will humble ourselves before him?  We should pay close attention to the signs of God’s hand in our own lives. If God is sending us a message to get our attention, we should humble ourselves and repent.

We want to be the ones who ask the question of verse 12, which the angel of the Lord asks.  How long until you show me mercy again, God?  How long?  This is a tough question to ask when we are the authors of our own exile. Here we see the angel going to bat for the people of God, and the response is a welcome refuge:

I will return mercy to Jerusalem.
My house will be rebuilt.
My towns will again overflow with prosperity.
The Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.

What a promise.  After everything they have been through, what a promise of God!

You may need such good news in your life.  Remember that the path of mercy with God is a path of repentance, humility, and obedience.  These themes expressed in your life will produce favour from God.  This may be a stark contrast to what you have been showing God in these last days.

It’s time to turn the corner.

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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