“Return to Me,” says the Lord, “and I will return to you.” – Zechariah 1:3
I’m reading a book entitled “Return to Me” by Lynn Austin. It recounts the story of the prophet Zechariah returning to Jerusalem after the Persian king Cyrus releases the Jewish exiles from Babylonian captivity with express instructions to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Zechariah leaves Babylon as a boy and it is not until he reaches adulthood in Jerusalem that the Temple begins to be rebuilt in haste. The story tells of the setbacks the returning Jewish exiles face from the surrounding villages of Samaritans and the governing body of the Judean region. Yet despite the threats of violence and the influence of their pagan neighbors, God’s people are determined to rebuild God’s Temple so that God can once again live amongst His chosen people and so the people can try to reclaim the fellowship they had with God before sin banished them from Eden.
The present world we live in is full of sin. In fact sin has taken over every major influencing force in the United States. Movies, television, music, government…they’re making sin the norm, making sin LEGAL. We’re putting sin on a pedestal, elevating it above righteousness and holiness in the name of equality. True equality comes from loving each other fully without prejudice. We’ve let sexual immorality pervade our children, teaching them to believe promiscuity is expected of them. We Christians have compromised our beliefs in order to live at peace with others. We don’t want to seem bigoted and self-righteous so we go along with those crude jokes and petty jealousies in the workplace. We join in at happy hour and justify our actions saying this drink has less alcohol than Nyquil.
I’ve had enough of it! We weren’t meant to blend in. We weren’t meant to accommodate. We are a people set apart by God. We are meant to shine God’s light throughout the world. We aren’t meant to please other people. Is pleasing people more important than pleasing Almighty God who holds our life in His hands? God is not demanding that we return to Him out of fear or because of the promise of a blessing. God is asking us to turn back to Him for the love of Him. Full stop. He doesn’t want anything from us but our love. Our attitude needs to be one of mournful contrition. We have all failed God, many of us more than once. But of course, God’s love, mercy, and grace never fails. Return to Him, and He will return to you.