Sunday School Material 8-23-15: A Demand for Justice

(Zechariah 7:8-14; 8/23/15)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God got angry and punished His rebellious people. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on obeying God, so we can avoid divine punishment.

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Read Zechariah 7:8-10

I. God’s Requirements. In our Sunday School material Zechariah received another word from the Lord. The Lord wants justice, mercy, and compassion to be administered. And He wants oppression and the plotting of evil among the people of God to cease.

Applications –

- Appreciating God sending us a word. Notice in vss. 8-9 that God continues to send a word to His people through His prophet. First, we should be thankful that God keeps on trying to communicate with us. Even though we have ignored Him in the past, He keeps on sending a word.

Second, we learned from our Sunday School material that God often sends His word through the one He sent. We should be careful about ignoring what God is saying through those He sent. Let’s work on appreciating the word of God so much that we obey it.

- Treating people right. Notice in vss. 9-10 that God wants His people to be known for justice, mercy, and compassion, not oppressing and plotting evil against the weak.

First, especially as people of God, we should work hard on being just and supporting our justice system. We should be known for practicing mercy and compassion as well as supporting programs that provide mercy and compassion for the less fortunate.

Second, there is active oppression and plotting evil against the weak and passive oppression and plotting. When we don’t do the good that we can, we are guilty of the sin of omission like the goats in Matthew 25:41-46.

Let’s work on treating people with justice, mercy, and compassion, instead of with oppression and the plotting of evil. We should make an extra effort to make sure that the weakest and least fortunate have at least the essentials of life.

Read Zechariah 7:11-12a

II. Israel’s Refusal. In our Sunday School material the people of God refused to turn from their wicked ways to God’s ways. They made their hearts hard. They would not listen to what God was saying through the people/prophets that He sent.

Applications –

- Rejecting God’s word. Notice in vss. 11-12a that the people chose to ignore God’s word that was sent through the prophets.

First, it doesn’t matter how much preaching and teaching are rendered. If people chose not to hear and obey, the preaching and teaching are just about useless. Second, even though each person can chose to receive or reject God’s word, it is a terrible decision to reject God’s word.

Third, our behavior says more about our choice than our words. We can say we accept, but when we behave as if we reject, we have rejected the word of God. Let’s work on receiving and obeying God’s word, instead of behaving as if we reject it.

Read Zechariah 7:12b-14

III. God’s Response. The Lord was angry with the response of His people. In our Sunday School material the Lord talked about not listening to His people, essentially because they didn’t listen to Him. They will be scattered and the pleasant land will be desolate.

Applications –

- God’s anger. Notice in vs. 12b that the Lord was very angry about His people rejecting His word. In like manner, God still gets very angry when we, who claim to belong to Him, behave contrary to His will.

Think about how so many people in our churches reject God’s word regarding the paying of tithes, participation in ministry, and involvement in enthusiastic worship. Let’s obey God, so He will not be angry with us.

- God’s punishment. Notice in vss. 13-14 that God’s anger was followed by God’s punishment. In like manner, God is able to send pain and withhold blessings in our lives, as His way of punishing our sins.

Our lives are challenging enough without God sending punishment. Let’s work on being obedient, so we can avoid being punished.

Conclusion: Let’s work on obeying God, so we can avoid divine punishment. God has much for those who obey His will.

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