une rituelle de penitence prouvee futile aux yeux de dieu

 

CHRIST THE ROCK CONGREGATION

DIMANCHE 23 AOUT 2020

Sermon by Pastor Marc Simeon

UNE RITUELLE DE PÉNITENCE, PROUVEE FUTILE AUX YEUX DE DIEU

A FUTILE RITUAL OF PENITENCE IN THE SIGHTS OF GOD

Zac 7:1 ¶ La quatrième année du roi Darius, la parole de l’Éternel fut adressée à Zacharie, le quatrième jour du neuvième mois, qui est le mois de Kisleu.

2 On avait envoyé de Béthel Scharetser et Réguem-Mélec avec ses gens pour implorer l’Éternel,

3 et pour dire aux sacrificateurs de la maison de l’Éternel des armées et aux prophètes: Faut-il que je pleure au cinquième mois et que je fasse abstinence, comme je l’ai fait tant d’années?

4 La parole de l’Éternel des armées me fut adressée, en ces mots:

5 Dis à tout le peuple du pays et aux sacrificateurs: Quand vous avez jeûné et pleuré au cinquième et au septième mois, et cela depuis soixante-dix ans, est-ce pour moi que vous avez jeûné?

6 Et quand vous mangez et buvez, n’est-ce pas vous qui mangez et vous qui buvez?

7 Ne connaissez-vous pas les paroles qu’a proclamées l’Éternel par les premiers prophètes, lorsque Jérusalem était habitée et tranquille avec ses villes à l’entour, et que le midi et la plaine étaient habités?

8 ¶ La parole de l’Éternel fut adressée à Zacharie, en ces mots:

9 Ainsi parlait l’Éternel des armées: Rendez véritablement la justice, Et ayez l’un pour l’autre de la bonté et de la miséricorde.

10 N’opprimez pas la veuve et l’orphelin, l’étranger et le pauvre, Et ne méditez pas l’un contre l’autre le mal dans vos cœurs.

11 Mais ils refusèrent d’être attentifs, ils eurent l’épaule rebelle, et ils endurcirent leurs oreilles pour ne pas entendre.

12 Ils rendirent leur coeur dur comme le diamant, pour ne pas écouter la loi et les paroles que l’Éternel des armées leur adressait par son esprit, par les premiers prophètes. Ainsi l’Éternel des armées s’enflamma d’une grande colère.

13 Quand il appelait, ils n’ont pas écouté: aussi n’ai-je pas écouté, quand ils ont appelé, dit l’Éternel des armées.

14 Je les ai dispersés parmi toutes les nations qu’ils ne connaissaient pas; le pays a été dévasté derrière eux, il n’y a plus eu ni allants ni venants; et d’un pays de délices ils ont fait un désert.

INTRODUCTION

  • The book of Zachariah is a very important book in the Bible.

  • Zachariah is the 11th of the 12 Minor Prophets.

  • It is a prophetic book written at the end of the Babylonian captivity.

  • Many Jews had begun to repatriate in the Motherland and many others were still scattered throughout Babylon and the Persian Empire.

  • Zachariah began to prophecy in the year 516 BC, although the course of his prophetic ministry might have extended for many years.

  • Zachariah is from the same era of Haggai and their ministries were parallel in many instances.

  • In the book of Zachariah, we see that God was in good disposition to restore Israel with the condition that the Jews must choose to live righteously.

  • Although the period of the captivity was over, the new generation was warned on how to avoid another catastrophe in running in collision with the will of God.

  • Some Zachariah’s prophecies were for the immediate future as to the repatriation of the exiled Jews, and, the building of the second temple, but the bulk of the prophecies in the book of Zachariah have to do with the messianic kingdom of Christ.

  • Today we are going to concentrate on the seventh chapter of Zachariah where there is an important lesson to learn about how God operates.

The convoy from Bethel

Zac 7:1 ¶ La quatrième année du roi Darius, la parole de l’Éternel fut adressée à Zacharie, le quatrième jour du neuvième mois, qui est le mois de Kisleu.

2 On avait envoyé de Béthel Scharetser et Réguem-Mélec avec ses gens pour implorer l’Éternel,

  • Some of the Jews, who lived in Bethel, sent to enquire from the priests in Jerusalem about a certain fasting ritual to see whether or not they should keep the same dates that they have used for many years.

  • The objective behind the quest was in order to best please God.

  • Bethel was once the place where the presence of God resided before the split of the kingdom.

  • When king Jeroboam began the Northern Kingdom, he imposed Israel to spiritual adultery because he did not want the Northern Jews to go worship in Jerusalem fearing that his kingdom would be affected negatively.

  • The spirit of God left the temple in Bethel because it became profane.

  • Some two hundred years later a spiritual revival seemed to have sprung in the Northern Kingdom by some fervent Jews, probably some prophets.

  • They began to mourn and fasted in a certain month of the year as a display of repentance before God.

  • Although the genesis of the movement might have had pious intents, as the years went by, it turned to useless rituals.

  • Must deities are about rituals and ceremonies, but Jehovah God is more about conduct.

  • Many want to please God by accelerating in ritual while neglecting on character.

  • Today, by the grace of God we will see how God views our rituals when our lifestyle is not in line with His precepts.

The Quest of the convoy sent to consult God.

Zac 7:1 ¶ La quatrième année du roi Darius, la parole de l’Éternel fut adressée à Zacharie, le quatrième jour du neuvième mois, qui est le mois de Kisleu.

2 On avait envoyé de Béthel Scharetser et Réguem-Mélec avec ses gens pour implorer l’Éternel,

3 et pour dire aux sacrificateurs de la maison de l’Éternel des armées et aux prophètes: Faut-il que je pleure au cinquième mois et que je fasse abstinence, comme je l’ai fait tant d’années?

  • 516 BC

  • A group of representatives coming from the lands of captivity sent to seek the will of God concerning the order of the rituals they have been keeping.

  • There had been a spiritual consciousness going though the Jews in exile whereby they began to do things to attract the presence of God.

  • It soon turned to ritual because they did not understand the nature of God.

  • Many people seem to prefer to do a lot of sacrifices and rituals than what God is expected of them.

  • The convoy was sent to investigate if the dates of the fasting were correct.

  • For them, God is impossible to please; they wanted to make sure they were in line.

THE VANITY OF RITUALS IN THE LACK OF HOLINESS

4 La parole de l’Éternel des armées me fut adressée, en ces mots:

5 Dis à tout le peuple du pays et aux sacrificateurs: Quand vous avez jeûné et pleuré au cinquième et au septième mois, et cela depuis soixante-dix ans, est-ce pour moi que vous avez jeûné?

6 Et quand vous mangez et buvez, n’est-ce pas vous qui mangez et vous qui buvez?

7 Ne connaissez-vous pas les paroles qu’a proclamées l’Éternel par les premiers prophètes, lorsque Jérusalem était habitée et tranquille avec ses villes à l’entour, et que le midi et la plaine étaient habités?

  • They were interested about religious ceremonies and God was interested about holiness.

  • Many want to trap people into believing that what God desires from them is more religious duties.

  • Some would tell you if you belong to a certain organization you are automatically saved.

  • Some would tell you to follow the sacraments set by their church, then, you are at peace with God.

  • Some would tell you, if you worship God a certain day of the week, then you are in the will of God.

  • Some would tell you that, once you pay a certain amount of money, they can do a ceremony to usher you to heaven even if you were the worse of sinners.

  • Some are pushing people to extreme practices of penitence and long dry fasts in order to please God.

  • The fasting of Esther.

  • The fasting of Daniel.

  • The fasting of Jesus.

  • All of it to usher you closer to God.

  • Some make requirements of special offerings to activate the grace of God in your life.

  • God’s response shows that none of these extra gestures of penitence were doing were not reckoned by Him.

  • People prefer doing rituals rather than obeying to the Word.

  • There is pride in doing rituals, that’s why people love to tell others about their self sacrifices.

  • If you notice, God did not give them the answer they were looking for.

  • It did not matter what mortifications or deprivations they applied to their bodies, God would not be pleased with them unless their hearts were pure.

OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE

8 ¶ La parole de l’Éternel fut adressée à Zacharie, en ces mots:

9 Ainsi parlait l’Éternel des armées: Rendez véritablement la justice, Et ayez l’un pour l’autre de la bonté et de la miséricorde.

10 N’opprimez pas la veuve et l’orphelin, l’étranger et le pauvre, Et ne méditez pas l’un contre l’autre le mal dans vos cœurs.

  • God wanted the Jews to practice the true religion.

  • God wanted the sincerity of heart from the captive Jews in all their endeavors.

  • Treating your neighbor right is equivalent to good worship service.

  • Being fair and equitable to all is equivalent to a fasting service.

  • Only those who walk uprightly would benefit from these extra gestures of insuring intimacy with God.

  • Fasting and taking a time to mourn over their sins were right actions within themselves, but to neglect justice, equity and mercy at the same time, cancelled out their good dispositions toward God.

  • Same is true to a fervent Christian who neglects his family.

  • Some wives are the best members a church could hope for, but what she is like at home with the husband and the kids, and the neighbors is totally different.

  • Some would like to box God to the four corners of the church so that they can keep God out of their private lives.

THE CAUSES OF THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL

11 Mais ils refusèrent d’être attentifs, ils eurent l’épaule rebelle, et ils endurcirent leurs oreilles pour ne pas entendre.

12 Ils rendirent leur cœur dur comme le diamant, pour ne pas écouter la loi et les paroles que l’Éternel des armées leur adressait par son esprit, par les premiers prophètes. Ainsi l’Éternel des armées s’enflamma d’une grande colère.

13 Quand il appelait, ils n’ont pas écouté: aussi n’ai-je pas écouté, quand ils ont appelé, dit l’Éternel des armées.

14 Je les ai dispersés parmi toutes les nations qu’ils ne connaissaient pas; le pays a été dévasté derrière eux, il n’y a plus eu ni allants ni venants; et d’un pays de délices ils ont fait un désert.

  • God is not like the famous commercial of Burger King, « Have it your way! »

  • If we neglect to follow the precepts of God, we are bound to see all the consequences associated.

  • If we give God the deaf hear when He speaks to us, be sure to know that God will return the same generosity toward us when we call upon Him for mercy.

  • God wanted the Jews who were in the motion of rebuilding their country to know that his principles are still the same as before.

  • Our pious rituals tend to infuriate God when we walk in disobedience to His Word.

  • Imagine your unfaithful spouse bringing you flowers and doing all sorts of romantic gestures only to continue with his or her infidelity.

  • Imagine your boss acting really nice with you only to tell you that you are fired.

  •  

THE CONDITIONS FOR RESTAURATION

Zac 8:14 Car ainsi parle l’Éternel des armées: Comme j’ai eu la pensée de vous faire du mal lorsque vos pères m’irritaient, dit l’Éternel des armées, et que je ne m’en suis point repenti,

15 ainsi je reviens en arrière et j’ai résolu en ces jours de faire du bien à Jérusalem et à la maison de Juda. Ne craignez pas!

16 Voici ce que vous devez faire: dites la vérité chacun à son prochain; jugez dans vos portes selon la vérité et en vue de la paix;

17 que nul en son cœur ne pense le mal contre son prochain, et n’aimez pas le faux serment, car ce sont là toutes choses que je hais, dit l’Éternel.

  • The new generation of Jews had the benefit of the fall of Jerusalem to see that God is to be revered.

  • Before the captivity, the Jews mistreated all the prophets who told them that God was on the verge to destroy Jerusalem.

  • Some had reliance on the Arch of the Covenant to think they were safe with God.

  • Some had reliance upon the beautiful temple of Salomon to think that God would never allow foreign enemies to penetrate the walls of Jerusalem because his house was at stake.

  • As God was well disposed to restore the Holy Land, the inhabitants were warned that their restoration was conditional to their behaviors.

  • No one can maintain a blessing for long without righteousness.

  • Those who neglect uprightness can expect to fall in a vicious cycle of rise and fall.

  • Yet again, we see that God makes no mention of rituals here.

  • Practice righteousness and you will live

Zac 8:19 Ainsi parle l’Éternel des armées: Le jeûne du quatrième mois, le jeûne du cinquième, le jeûne du septième et le jeûne du dixième se changeront pour la maison de Juda en jours d’allégresse et de joie, en fêtes de réjouissance. Mais aimez la vérité et la paix.

CONCLUSION

  • Are you one of those who are trying to rebound in life?

  • Are you thinking of nurturing a higher intimacy with God?

  • Are you someone whose religious life had been dimmed recently?

  • As you are closing the gap with God in your reading the Scriptures and devotion and prayer, please do not forget holiness.

  • Do not forget that how you treat your neighbor matters equally to God as the many hours you spend in church activities.

  • As far as rituals are concerned, it is always better if you can determine your own instead of following someone else’s formula.

  • Formulas will soon become useless rituals for they are best applicable to the person who originated them.

  • Follow the leads of the Holy Spirit to work out your own personal means of getting closer to God.

  • Some will be lead to assist a person in need as their reasonable offering to God.

  • Some will find it wise to fast one or two days a week.

  • Some will make abstinence of futile activities in their lives to concentrate more on God.

  • The Holy Spirit will always prompt to you the best sacrifices you can offer to God at this particular moment in your life.

  • What He will ask me to do may differ from what He will ask you to do, yet the result will be the same. We will be more pleasing to God.

  • As we close, take the time to identify a few things that you are doing presently seemingly to please God, yet to no avail.

  • Try to see how you can shift your efforts to full obedience to the word of God.

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to pinpoint the areas in your life that are in need of immediate improvements.

  • Drop a few other religious things and concentrate on the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

  • Work hard on your relationship with others, for you can be disqualified before God for not acting right with others even if you accelerate in religious duties.

AMEN!

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