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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Not of this World

Romans 15:4 (here @ Bible Gateway) reminds us that the things that are written in the Old Testament are written for our instruction.  2 Timothy 3:16 – 17 (here @ Bible Gateway) tells us that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable, in the context, Paul is talking there about the Old Testament.  Hebrews 4:12 (here @ Bible Gateway) insists that the Word is powerful, living and active, able to deal directly with our minds and hearts.
Not of this World
With that in mind, look at Zechariah 8:16 – 17 (here @ Bible Gateway).  As you read it note the verbs:
  • Do
  • Speak
  • Judge
  • Devise
  • Love

There are a couple more but focus on these for a minute.  The first one, “do,” suggests that this is a directive, something that the Lord wants us to pay attention to, to actually make a part of our behavior.

The second, “speak,” has the object “truth.”  The Lord expects us to speak truth to one another.  This is echoed, quoted really, by Paul in Ephesians 4:25 (here @ Bible Gateway) and Colossians 3:9 (here @ Bible Gateway).

The next “judge” is interesting.  We are to judge with truth but also with judgement.  This is the second time truth shows up in this passage.  The word translated “judgement” shows up 421 times in the text; 105 of those times it is translated “ordinance.”  The implication is that our judgement is not arbitrary but follows a guide, creed, or standard.  In the use of that judgement there is no room for anything but truth.

The next two verbs are negated.  We are “not to devise” evil.  We are not to think through, plan, scheme, how to do wrong,

“Love” is the next verb negated.  We are not to love perjury.  Lying about someone or something.

So based on these observations the Lord instruct us through Zechariah to:
  • Speak truth
  • Judge with truth and judgement
  • Not plot evil
  • Not love lying

A cursory review of current events in the news (current regardless of when you might read this) will quickly reveal that these four things are not common in the behavior of man.  Rather, in all strata of society nearly the exact opposite is true.

What we hear, read, and experience on a daily basis is more like:
  • Speaking falsehoods
  • Bias and skewed judgements
  • Evil plots
  • Committed Liars

As communities of faith, we are called out to be different than the world.  If we are, people notice.

1 comment:

  1. The phone conference Bible study I am part of wrapped up our study of Daniel we did over the last few months. We noted that Daniel and his three friends served the government of a hostile empire that had destroyed their homeland and enslaved them, yet did it with the attitudes you outline in this post.

    This would have been, to me, one of the most difficult assignments possible in this world. Yet they did it at the risk of their lives more that once with the character and standards you describe here.

    One lesson: circumstances have no bearing on these qualities; we are to uphold them no matter what circumstances and potential ramifications there may be - life, or death. The qualities of the Kingdom of God transcend any earthly considerations.

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