Zechariah 7:8 And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying,
9 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.
12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts:
14 But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.
Zechariah was directed to remind the hearers and readers again that he was speaking the word of the LORD. All Scripture is of equal importance. In the previous verses the people had been complaining that God was not recognizing their humanistic religious efforts. They were trying so hard to be spiritual, but their spirituality was not from God and not directed toward God.
God contrasted what they were doing with what they should be doing. They should be executing true judgment. They should be showing mercy and compassion toward their brothers. The Jews needed to express a genuine care and concern for one another. If they would do this, they would open a door of opportunity to show others the way of blessing. That way is always through God.
In verse 10 there was a need to look after the widows, the fatherless and the stranger. The New Testament shows us that a widow indeed is one that fears the true God and is not a busybody. She is one who is genuinely destitute and in need of help. If there are grown children, they need to look after the needs of their mother.
The fatherless are those young children that have lost their fathers. Fathers are an important part of the family structure. There are far too many homes now where there is no father. There might be a man around, but he is not a father. A father takes a genuine interest in his family and he provides for them in more than just their material needs. A godly father understands that there really is no time for a T.V. in the house. There is nothing good that a child can learn from the T.V. It is not family time when the family sits around the T.V. and watches some garbage show. Why allow godless individuals to indoctrinate your children. That is the role of the father. He needs to be there to give wise counsel to his children. Of course this means the father needs to be a godly man.
Where there is no father, God says other godly men need to step up and help the widow in those areas where she is not able to meet the need. Godly men can help teach necessary and important skills to the children. Of course the most important teaching is the Word of God.
The stranger is the person who is not a part of the nation. It is someone who may want to become a part of the nation. Reports have stated that many Hamas people were entering Israel under the pretence of wanting work, but they were spying and taking notes of where the weak points were. That is how the terrorists were able to enter and make such gains in the early stages of the invasion that just took place. They knew which Kibbutz’s were least protected. They knew about the raunchy godless party that was going to take place. They knew the armies were watching other “hot spots” and were ignoring the Gaza area. The Hamas people were strangers but they were strangers with an ulterior motive. A stranger would be one who is not seeking to destroy the hand that feeds him.
The Bible declares that the poor will always be around. There will never be a time on this earth where there will not be poor people. A poor person that is worthy of help is one who is either crippled and not able to work or someone who has had some difficulties and needs a lift. Those who walk the boulevards with their signs need to go hungry and then they will find work already. If they are healthy enough to walk around with their sign, they are healthy enough to work. Many of those who collect welfare checks should also go hungry for a bit and then they would find work. Of course there needs to be a godly justice system that will punish thieves properly. We do not have that in our country. We have too many bleeding hearts. The Bible declares that if a man does not want to work, then he should not eat either.
II Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
The welfare state that we have is not helping those who have their hands out. They are never satisfied. They are always looking for a way to get more for nothing. Proper training begins in the home. If the parents are not saved and do not understand the importance of honest labour, the children will not be taught properly. Children need to have chores around the house. This is not “child labour”. This is teaching good practices. The poor are those who are legitimately poor.
God also commanded that the Jews were not to imagine evil against his brother in your heart. Notice the word “imagine”. It is important to deal with the facts. Rather than quickly drawing a conclusion, take the time to get to know what is actually happening. Find out who the needy are and avoid being an enabler.
In verse 11 we see the problem again. The LORD gave wise counsel, but the people ignored the wise counsel. They wanted nothing to do with God’s way. In verse 12 we see the hard-heartedness of the people. They did not want to hear the law of God. They shut down the truth. They wanted smooth talkers, but not truth talkers. That was still a problem in Jesus’ day and it is still a problem today.
Zechariah reminded the people that the former good prophets spoke the Word of the LORD. There were many false prophets. The people had no problem entertaining them. They just hated the truth. That is the same problem today. People are ready to listen to smooth talkers who can twist things for their own designs. You will notice that the false teachers always have one hand on the Bible and the other hand is out looking for money. They will offer this series of teachings for a certain sum. They will offer a boat cruise for x number of dollars. They have gimmicks for every gullible person. Interestingly, many people will fall for those tactics.
In verse 13 God reminded the people what the problem was. They were adamant like a stone and insisted that God do things their way. God showed them His way was right and theirs was wrong. They refused to listen, so He closed His ears to their cries. The school of hard knocks is not a pleasant school to attend. At some point most people end up there. The wise person does not stay there long. However, Zechariah was directed by God to address a constant problem among a certain segment of the Jewish population.
Thus in verse 14, the LORD rehearsed why the people were scattered. The North was captured by the Assyrians. The South was captured by the Babylonians. The Jews did not really know what these enemies were like. They found out they were not their friends. However, due to their rebellion, the LORD let them suffer for a time. Due to His mercy, He brought them back to Jerusalem after 70 years, but many had not learned the necessary lessons. They still stubbornly insisted on doing things their way.
When the enemies invaded the land, they plundered it. They did not need the land. They just did not want the Jews to be able to live there any longer. They left the land desolate. When a land is left uninhabited, weeds and brush take over. Wild animals inhabit it. It becomes an unsafe place to live.
God had promised the Jews a land flowing with milk and honey. They had that for a time. They did not appreciate it. They wanted the milk and honey, but on their own terms. God said, NO. God knew the right terms and He sent prophets to proclaim the right way.
Zechariah was reminding the people to listen. It was high time for them to listen and humble themselves to receive His blessings. The same is still true today.
Israel is foolishly trusting in the U.S. for aid in this current war. President Biden and the Democrats and many Republicans are not to be trusted. They say they want to defeat Hamas but they also send large amounts of aid to an arm of Hamas right now. Israel should be trusting in the LORD, but they are not ready to do that yet. They are still in the school of hard knocks. It will be a few more years before they will finally turn to God in repentance and acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah and King.
Most Gentiles are also not prepared to listen to the LORD yet. Today is another opportunity to get ready and go to a good church where you can be taught the truth. Don’t neglect the good that God wants to give you. Let Him show you what the good actually is. The natural eye cannot appreciate true beauty. We need God to open our eyes to see what is good and what is right.