August 3

Zechariah 1-4, Psalm 60

Many of us are familiar with the hymn, "Come, thou fount of every blessing. Written in 1757, by Robert Robinson, the last stanza is: Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love. Take my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for thy courts above. Robert Robinson was a wild youth that came to repentance after listening to a sermon by George Whitefield. He went on to become a preacher and wrote a number of hymns. Apparently, later in his life he wandered from God and felt he backslid so far that he could not return. Years later while riding in a stagecoach with a woman who was humming this hymn. When she asked Robert if he was familiar with it, he replied, "Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then." It is said that she responded by telling him, "Sir, the 'streams of mercy' are still flowing."

We read in Zechariah 1:2-4, "The Lord has been very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts: "Return to Me,"..."and I will return to you", says the Lord of hosts. "Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ' Thus says the Lord of hosts: "Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds." But they did not hear or heed Me," says the Lord." Though the project before them amongst all the rubble was daunting, through a series of visions Zechariah encouraged Zerubbabel and the people by saying in Zech 4:6, "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' Says the Lord of hosts." He then goes on to encourage them to not get overwhelmed by the immensity of the project in Zech 4:10, "For who has despised the day of small things?" Zechariah was faithful to his calling of pleading with the people to return to God, no matter what the personal cost. Jesus refers to Zechariah in Matthew 23:34-35, "Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on all the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar."

We know many who have never given their hearts to Christ along with many others who once seemed to be in a relationship with Him but have fallen away, like Robert Robinson, the people of Judah, and the Pharisees mentioned above. The question is, knowing the truth of eternity, do we care enough about others,that even if like the prophet, Zechariah, it costs us our lives. No matter what we, or others, have done, we have a God who will always forgive and forget and welcome us back. In James 4:8,10, it says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you...Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." Every day presents new opportunities for us to reach out to someone. These opportunities can only have results if we are keenly aware of them, stay near to God at all times to prepare ourselves, and love others enough no matter what the personal cost as Zechariah and our Savior, Jesus, exemplified.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster