The Peace of God
Zechariah 8:16 – These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgements that are true and make for peace.
Seventy years the exiles had been in Babylon which means that some of those returning to Judah had never seen Jerusalem before as they had been born in captivity. Originally, the Jewish people had one national fast each year on the Day of Atonement. While in Babylon they had added a fast day in the fifth month and the seventh month and they wanted to know if the Lord approved and if they should continue. The Lord replied with an interesting question – “Was it for me that you fasted?”
Tradition – should we stick with the old and how things have always been or do we start new ones? Every country and culture have their traditions, some in music or dance, cooking certain foods on particular days or abstaining from food for a specified time. Traditions can be the link between the generations as they are handed down from one to the next. So, what about God’s traditions? Those things set in place to remember and honour Him, can they be added to or changed? Can his laws?
Even when Judah and Israel were doing well, they disregarded God’s law on worshipping anything other than him. They created new feasts and festivals and incorporated the traditions of the surrounding nations. In Babylon it was no different and they succumbed to new ways so as to be socially acceptable. It is the same today with the Church under pressure to accept new traditions and new ways of living. It causes controversy and division among God’s people and I hear Him asking, ‘Was it for me that you conformed?’
Chapter 8 v 8, 13 & 19 says,
“And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness… Fear not, but let your hands be strong… love truth and peace.”
It is only in abiding in God’s truth that we will have the strength to remain faithful, do what is right and live peaceably with one another.
We need to stand strong in the laws of God so that society does not draw us down but that we draw them up, that all would say, “Let us go at once to entreat the favour of the Lord and to seek the Lord of host.”