Digging in Deeper: Zechariah 5:10-11

“So I asked the angel who was speaking with me, “Where are they taking the basket?” “To build a shrine for it in the land of Shinar,” he told me. “When that is ready, the basket will be placed there on its pedestal.””‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

God hates sin. He hates it. He loathes it with every fiber of His being (and there are a lot of fibers of His being). But, He loves us. He loves us perfectly and completely. He could not possibly love us anymore and there’s not a single thing we could do that will make Him love us any less. Even sin. As much as He wants to have us close, though (and He created us specifically to be in a relationship with Him so He wants that a lot), sin cannot be in His presence. At all.

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Digging in Deeper: Zechariah 3:1

“Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the Lord, with Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been part of an inside joke? Those are always kind of fun. You know something that only a select group of people know. You get to laugh about it together while everyone else just wonders. It creates a bond among you that is strong. Even years later a single word or phrase can reconnect people who otherwise have nothing in common. It’s hard as a modern follower of Jesus not to look back at passage like this one and feel like we are part of an inside joke that much of the original audience never got.

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Digging in Deeper: Zechariah 1:7

“On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo…” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When a people is picking up the pieces again after suffering through a season of tragedy, what do they need? That is a question astute observers of culture in Jerusalem late in the 5th century B.C. would have been asking. Interestingly, it is a question that astute observers of culture are asking nowadays as well. As an answer to that question, God sent the Israelites the prophet Zechariah. Now, his words were for them, not us. But perhaps there is still a thing or two we could learn for our own lives. Let’s take a look.

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Digging in Deeper: Romans 3:9-10

“What then? Are we any better off? Not at all! For we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin, as it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There is a difference between encouragement and reality. They may point in the same direction, but they are not the same. Given that, which is better? Is it better to offer encouragement that deviates from reality, or to simply drop reality on the table and let it be what it is? I guess the answer to that depends on who’s being asked. Some people would rather wave away reality and find some bright side to their situation even if it isn’t truly real, while other folks just want the unvarnished truth and they’ll figure out how to deal with it later. Why am I thinking about this kind of thing this morning? Because we are entering graduation season. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Haggai 2:12-14

“‘If a man is carrying consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and it touches bread, stew, wine, oil, or any other food, does it become holy?’ The priests answered, ‘No.’ Then Haggai asked, ‘If someone defiled by contact with a corpse touches any of these, does it become defiled?’ The priests answered, ‘It becomes defiled.’ Then Haggai replied, ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before me–this is the Lord’s declaration. And so is every work of their hands; even what they offer there is defiled.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the principles that lies at the heart of much modern thinking about religion and morality is that good things should happen to good people, and bad things should happen to bad people. In fact, the question of why bad things happen to good people is of great enough interest that it has been the subject of more than one book-length treatment. What God communicated to the people of Israel through Haggai here doesn’t resolve the issue by any means, but it does offer some good food for thought to folks who are pondering on it.

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