Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.’ But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus, great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,” says the Lord of hosts. “But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate.” (Zechariah 7:8-14)
The Attitude Of The Unrepentant
Israel had every reason to repent. They were the special people of God. He had guided them by His hand from bondage in Egypt to glory under Solomon. The Law of Moses was a guide to know the will of God. Everything was in place for blessings to be rained down on the nation if only they would change their hearts. Rebellion is a hard mistress. The people were stubborn to the core. God had pleaded through the prophets for the nation to return to Him but they refused. Zechariah defines the heart of the unrepentant. The five parts of rebellion began with a refusal to obey the Lord. Like a stubborn child, the people shrugged their shoulders as a sign they had no desire to change. Then they stopped their ears. There was nothing they would listen to again. All the prophets in the world would not change their mind. Then it became worse. Their hearts turned to flint. Hardened by sin the people adamantly refused to acknowledge the voice of the prophets. Finally, they refused to hear the truth. It was a waste of time to talk to the people. They were not going to repent and nothing would change their minds. Doom awaited. Punishment came.
The unrepentant thrive in a world of self-deceit. They believe they know more than God knows and refuse to listen to the word of the Lord of hosts. Stubborn in their hearts they allow pride to rule their decisions. Sadly, the word of God is not hard to understand but the unrepentant are not willing to open their hearts to allow a higher being to rule their lives. A stubborn child can stomp their feet, scream and holler refusing to obey; but it does not change the circumstance. Refusing to obey the word of God does not change the word. Denying the law of gravity does not mean it does not exist. It means certain death. A person can proudly proclaim all the way down “I do not believe” but the reality will destroy them. So it is with God. Refusing to bow before the Great I AM will end in bowing before the Great I AM one day.
Satan has been very persuasive convincing man he is a god. The unrepentant heart is filled with the god-likeness of mortal man worshipping himself. Refusing to regard the word of the Lord as valid, shrugging the shoulders in defiance with ears stopped from hearing anything from the Lord is nothing but childish rebellion. It always ends in disaster. There will come a day when the reality of their rebellion will be evident and it will be too late. They will cry out but the Lord will not listen because they rebelled and denied His grace. How tragically sad for the proud to learn they had nothing to be proud of.
God’s grace is so massive. His love is unbounding. The greatest sadness of man’s rebellious heart is to know such a powerful loving God is willing to forgive if only the heart of man would change. There is nothing more soothing than to know the cleansing of His forgiving hand when we humble ourselves before Him. Let go of pride. Embrace the love of God.
Repentance, of all things in the world, makes the greatest change; it changes things in heaven and earth; for it changes the whole man from sin to grace. (Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living, 1650)