The Lord Wants Kindness and Mercy
1Zechariah received a message from the Lord in the fourth year that Darius#7:1 the fourth year … Darius This was about 518 B.C. was the king of Persia. This was on the fourth day of the ninth month (Kislev). 2The people of Bethel sent Sharezer, Regem-Melech, and his men to ask the Lord a question. 3They went to the prophets and to the priests at the Temple of the Lord All-Powerful. They asked them this question: “For many years we have shown our sadness for the destruction of the Temple. In the fifth month of each year, we have had a special time of crying and fasting. Should we continue to do this?”
4I received this message from the Lord All-Powerful: 5“Tell the priests and the other people in this country this: ‘For seventy years you fasted and showed your sadness in the fifth month and in the seventh month. But was that fasting really for me? 6And when you ate and drank, was that for me? No, it was for your own good. 7The Lord used the earlier prophets to say the same thing long ago. That was when Jerusalem was still a rich city filled with people and there were still people living in the surrounding towns, in the Negev, and in the western foothills.’”
8This is the Lord’s message to Zechariah:
9“This is what the Lord All-Powerful said:
‘You must do what is right and fair.
You must be kind and
show mercy to each other.
10Don’t hurt widows and orphans,
strangers, or poor people.
Don’t even think of doing bad things to each other!’”
11But they refused to listen
and refused to do what he wanted.
They closed their ears so that they
could not hear what God said.
12They were very stubborn
and would not obey the law.
The Lord All-Powerful used his Spirit
and sent messages to his people through the prophets.
But the people would not listen,
so the Lord All-Powerful became very angry.
13So the Lord All-Powerful said,
“I called to them,
and they did not answer.
So now, if they call to me,
I will not answer.
14I will bring the other nations against them like a storm.
They didn’t know those nations,
but the country will be destroyed
after those nations pass through.
This pleasant country will be destroyed.”