They will be my people (Zech 8:7-8:8)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will save my people

From the east country,

As well as from the west country.

I will bring them

To live

In Jerusalem.

They shall be my people.

I will be their God,

In faithfulness,

In righteousness.’”

Yahweh of hosts, via Zechariah, said that he would save his people not only from Babylon in the east, but also those scattered in the western countries.  He wanted to bring them all together to live in Jerusalem, the holy city.  They would be his people.  He would be their God, faithfully and righteously.

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The failure of Ephraim (Hos 5:5-5:7)

“Israel’s pride

Testifies against him.

Ephraim stumbles

In his guilt.

Judah also shall stumble

With them.

With their flocks,

With their herds,

They shall go

To seek Yahweh.

But they will not find him,

He has withdrawn

From them.

They have dealt faithlessly

With Yahweh.

They have borne

Illegitimate children.

Now the new moon

Shall devour them

With their fields.”

Israel’s pride would testify against them. Ephraim would stumble with guilt. But Judah would also stumble with them. They would go with their flocks and herds seeking Yahweh, but they would not find him. Yahweh has withdrawn from them, because they did not treat Yahweh faithfully. They, thus, bore illegitimate children, so that the new moon festivals would devour them with their fields.

The righteous man (Ezek 18:5-18:9)

“If a man is righteous,

He does what is lawful.

He does what is right.

He does not eat

Upon the mountains,

He does not lift up his eyes

To the idols

Of the house of Israel.

He does not defile

His neighbor’s wife.

He does not approach a woman

During her menstrual cycle.

He does not oppress anyone.

But he restores

To the debtor

His pledge.

He commits no robbery.

He gives his bread

To the hungry.

He covers the naked

With a garment.

He does not take advantage.

He does not accrue interest.

He withholds his hand

From iniquity.

He executes true justice

Between contending parties.

He follows my statutes.

He is careful to observe

My ordinances.

He acts faithfully.

Such a one is righteous.

He will surely live.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Ezekiel outlined how the righteous man acts. First, he does what is lawful and right. He does not eat upon the mountains, the places of idol worship. He does not lift up his eyes to these Israelite idols. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife. He also does not approach a woman during her menstrual cycle. He does not oppress anyone. However, he pays off his loans. He does not rob people. He gives his bread to the hungry people. He clothes the naked. He does not take advantage of anyone. He does not accrue interest. He stays away from iniquity. He executes true justice. He judges between contending parties. He follows the statutes and ordinances faithfully. This righteous one will surely live.

The power of Yahweh’s word (Jer 23:28-23:29)

“‘Let the prophet

Who has a dream

Tell the dream.

But let the one

Who has my word,

Speak my word faithfully.

What has straw

In common with wheat?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Is not my word

Like fire?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Is not my word

Like a hammer

That breaks

A rock in pieces?’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, issued a series of oracles about the power of his word. If a prophet had a dream, let him tell that dream. However, anyone who had the word of Yahweh should also speak the word faithfully. Straw is dried up and useless, but wheat or grain is full of nourishment. The word of Yahweh was like fire or a hammer that could break any rock into pieces.

The reaction prayer of King Hezekiah (Isa 38:2-38:3)

“Then King Hezekiah

Turned his face to the wall.

He prayed to Yahweh.

‘Remember now!

O Yahweh!

I implore you!

How I have walked before you

In faithfulness,

With a whole heart.

I have done what is good

In your sight.’

King Hezekiah wept bitterly.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 20. Since Isaiah the prophet had spoken, what else was there to do? King Hezekiah turned to the wall. Then he prayed to Yahweh to remember that he had tried to walk correctly and faithfully in the sight of God with his whole heart. Finally, he wept bitterly about his impending death.

Human freedom (Sir 15:14-15:17)

“The Lord created humankind

In the beginning.

He left them

With the power

Of their own free choice.

If you chose,

You can keep the commandments.

To act faithfully

Is a matter of your own choice.

He has placed before you fire.

He had placed before you water.

Stretch out your hand

For whichever you wish.

Before each person

Is life and death.

Whichever one chooses

Will be given.”

God created us humans. He left us with a free choice. We can choose to follow the commandments faithfully or not. It is our choice, like fire and water. Which do we want? We have the choice of life or death. Whichever we choose, we will receive. The choice is ours.

Yahweh loves all (Ps 33:4-33:5)

“The word of Yahweh is upright.

All his work is done in faithfulness.

He loves righteousness and justice.

The earth is full of the steadfast love of Yahweh.”

The word of Yahweh is good. All his work is done faithfully. He loves righteousness and justice. Thus the earth is full of God’s steadfast love.