A Call To Return To The Lord
Posted: Monday, December 21
Verse of the day:
Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “That I may return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 1:3)
Repentance, as Zechariah makes clear in today’s reading, is a matter of life and death. These verses set the tone and summarize the point of what follows: learn from history, repent and do right, and blessing will follow.
What was their history? Disobedience, rebellion, and idolatry. God was faithful to send prophets to warn them, but the nation had refused to listen. Their sin had brought on God’s anger and the punishment of exile. “Where is that generation now?” Zechariah asked rhetorically (v. 5). The Word had pursued and caught them (v. 6). Did they really think they could escape God’s laws and principles—His spoken word?
So to the remnant God says, “Return to me . . . so that I may return to you” (v. 3). Does that mean His love is conditional? No, but His blessings are. Conditional upon what? Upon repentance and obedience. To return to the Lord, Israel must turn from their evil ways and pursue righteousness. Repentance also involves acknowledging the justice of God; that is, admitting He was right to respond to their sin as He had responded—with punishment and exile.
Today as we think of these verses, reflect on the hope that God’s love is unconditional. And to receive it in full, all we need to do is to turn from our sinful ways and “Return to Him… so that He may return to us.” I find use of the word, “May” in this translation interesting. God cannot turn from who He is—from His righteousness to accommodate us in our sin. It is only when we turn from our sin to return to Him, that He may return to us.