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Integrity     Zechariah 7:1-14      July 29, 2007

 

Introduction

Integrity means different things to different people.  The Word of God clarifies the definition.  The problem comes when people refuse to hear or reject the Word of God.  We need to desire the biblical definition of Integrity.

 

1.   The . . Inquiry About Integrity.   7:1-3

      A.   The . . Dating Of The Inquiry About Integrity.  7:1

1 In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which
is Chislev. 

  B.    The . . Dispensing for The Inquiry About Integrity.  7:2

2 Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer, Regem-melech, and their men to plead for the LORD's favor

  C.   The . . Desire Of The Inquiry About Integrity.  7:3

3 by asking the priests who were at the house of the LORD of Hosts as well as the prophets, "Should we mourn and fast in the fifth month as we have done these many years?"

    Why does the Bible have so much to say about calendar dates?  The Biblical writers were concerned about accuracy, and God knew some would try to undermine the written word.  Zechariah did not hesitate to share with us that the message he received came from the Lord.  The people of Bethel wanted to receive information from the Lord so they sought those who seemed to be dispensing the Word of the Lord and asked about the requirement of fasting.  Have you ever fasted?  It is amazing how fast the desire of fasting loses any appeal; especially if it is not being done for the proper reasons.

 

2.   The . . Interrogation About Integrity.   7:4-7

      A.  The Interrogation About Integrity  . . Stated.   7:4-5

              4 Then the word of the LORD of Hosts came to me: 5 "Ask all the people of the land and the priests: When you fasted and lamented in the fifth and in the seventh months for these 70 years, did you really fast for Me?

 

      B.  The Interrogation About Integrity. . Simplified.   7:6-7

              6 When you eat and drink, don't you eat and drink simply for yourselves? 7 Aren't these the words that the LORD proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem was inhabited and secure, along with its surrounding cities, and when the southern region and the Judean foothills were inhabited?"

 

The Lord asked the people through His prophet about the peopleís motivation for fasting during the past 70 years.  The Lord clearly stated this question, ďdid you really fast for Me?Ē   The Lord simplified His interrogation as He inquired about the peopleís worship in general, and reminded them before their captivity these same questions had been asked.  It would probably be very embarrassing if the Lord asked all of His people today, ďfor whom do you worship?Ē

 

 

3.  The . . Ingredients Of Integrity.   7:8-10
    8 The word of the LORD came to Zechariah: 9 "The LORD of Hosts says this: Render true justice. Show faithful love and
    compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the stranger or the poor, and do not plot evil in
    our hearts against one another.

 

<>        A.  Ingredients Of Integrity From The . . Word Of God.   7:8-9a            
            
8 The word of the LORD came to Zechariah: 9 "The LORD of Hosts says this:

 

B.  Ingredients Of Integrity From The . . Ways Of God.   7:9b-10

      Render true justice. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the stranger or the poor, and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.

 

      What makes a standard for integrity?  In my opinion the standard is Godís Word.  Ten visions were given to Zechariah and he received them as the word of God.  When a person believes God has spoken to them and they are submissive; it has to change their actions.  It will produce a quality of integrity everyone will notice,  because it will be the way of God and not man.  Recently I have been noticing the actions of those who claim to be atheists.  They all seem to be mad at the world.  They may treat a few with kindness and integrity but generally that is not true.  The ways of God include; faithful love, compassion to one another, a refusal to oppress the poor, and a rejection of plotting evil against one another.  That demonstrates Integrity!



4.    The . . Invalidating Of Integrity.   7:11-14<>

        A. The Invalidation Of Integrity Through Manís . . Refusal.  7:11

    11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder; they closed their ears so they could not hear.

 

B. The Invalidation Of Integrity Through Manís . . Rejection.  7:12

12 They made their hearts like a rock so as not to obey the law or the words that the LORD of Hosts had sent by His
         Spirit through the earlier prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of Hosts.

 

C. The Invalidation Of Integrity Through Godís . . Retribution.  7:13

13 Just as He had called, and they would not listen, so when they called, I would not listen," says the LORD of Hosts.

 

D. The Invalidation Of Integrity Through Godís . . Regretfulness.  7:14

14 "I scattered them with a windstorm over all the nations that had not known them, and the land was left desolate
         behind them, with no one coming or going. They turned a pleasant land into a desolation."   HCSB

 

Mankind can refuse the standard for integrity, and even refuse to hear.  If some of Godís standards slip through they will reject them as their heart becomes like a rock.  Does God ever give the people what they deserve rather than what they want, or request?  This verse indicates a type of retribution from God as He refuses to listen to those who refused to listen to Him.  God regretfully scattered His people, and allowed them to turn His land into a desolate place.  Their refusal and rejection brought the retribution of God.