Stubborn Shoulders and Heavy Ears

“The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.’ But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear.* They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord. ‘As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known… The pleasant land was made desolate.’

“‘I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy… I have returned and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain… I will save my people… and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness…

“’For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. As you have been a byword of cursing among the nations,.. so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing.’”

*Hebrew and made their ears too heavy to hear

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he.” Zechariah 7:8-14; 8:2-3,7-8,12-13; 9:9

Since Eden, the once-warm human heart has been plagued with a sinister chill. Throughout history God’s gracious offer of life has been rebuffed for the distorted privilege of serving idols and getting what we want: a pride-filled present and a hopeless future. And until the end of days, many will reject His free eternal gift of forgiveness and joy. (Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:14-15; Revelation 9:20-21)

But praise our gracious God! He’s come to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found! His mercy unstiffens the shoulder to lean toward His forgiving embrace. It buoys the leaden ear to hear melodies of lovingkindness and grace. It softens the diamond-hard heart to welcome His word and respond with obedience and affection. This is our Redeemer, merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love! (Psalm 103:1-14)

Do you know Him? Will you receive the Savior as your own and know the delights of being held by everlasting arms, of attentive ears and a malleable heart? (Deuteronomy 33:12,27)

Even knowing Him, we still contend with the enemy’s wiles. What allures trigger stubborn refusal of His ways? What irritations, complaints, or woes pester our minds and dull spiritual receptors? Where have we shrugged off grace and refused to relinquish shame, regret, resentment? For whom will we trust God to soften our hearts, that we might love as He’s loved us? (1 John 3:16-18; 4:7-11,16,19)

Lord Jesus, may I bring your joy to the world by living lightly and gratefully in Your love. Prepare hearts for Your freedom and grace, that You might be known and exalted.

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