August 4

Zechariah 5-8, Psalm 61

Sometimes the problem is the question for it reveals the heart. In 1984, in my first year of medical school, as a whole we students had worked very hard to get in and were excited to be there. We wanted to absorb everything that we was being taught. Our first class was Anatomy, where groups of four would dissect a cadaver slowly over 4 months. When it came time for the final, I will never forget the question asked by one of the few students who seemed to lack enthusiasm. He asked the professor if we needed to know and study the anatomy of the leg for the final. The answer was, of course, yes. That student didn't make it past the first semester, he failed out.  His question revealed his heart.

We read of a similar question in Zechariah 7. In Zech 7:2-3, we read the question, "the people sent Sherezer, with Regem-Melech and his men, to the house of God, to pray before the Lord, and to ask the priests who were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and the prophets, saying, "Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?" The Lord answers them in Zech 7:5-6, "Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me-for Me? When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves?" We read on and see what the Lord truly wanted and the response of the people. In Zech 7:9, it says, "...Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion Everyone to his brother." Their response is in Zech 7:11, "But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so they could not hear." David realized this after falling into sin with Bathsheeba, as we read in Psalm 51:16-17, "For you do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart-These, O God, You will not despise."

As we reflect on our own walk we have to all ask ourselves whether we are following a religion or whether we are in a relationship with God. The truth lies in the question. Do we ask how long we have to pray, how much Scripture we have to read, how often we have to go to church, whether we have to hang around after church and fellowship, whether we have to tithe, etc? This is religion, for it is done out of obligation, or to showcase our goodness, or in belief it will earn points with God. But if we are in a relationship with God, and truly in love with Him, the mindset is not that we have to do any of the things that were previously mentioned, but that we actually get to do, and are able to do these things. For in a true relationship we are excited about spending time with the one we love. For those of us who are married and in a loving relationship with our spouse can you imagine asking the question of how much time do I have to spend with her, or how much I have to talk with her to make this marriage work. The beauty of marriage is we get to spend as much time as possible with one another and cherish each moment with the one we love. As we reflect on today's reading may we all be thankful to realize that we have an all powerful, all knowing, all loving God who is so much greater than we are yet desires and allows us to actually be in a relationship with Him. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for making this possible for us!

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster