Zechariah 1:3 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me, ‘declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
I have always loved the autumn season. The evenings get cooler, the crisp air tingles your nose, and summer fruit trees are ready for harvest. On recent evenings Apache and I have taken a relaxing walk around our fields (well, I relax and walk while she runs). We follow a path that Dad mows around the perimeter of the property. It is especially fun this year because we are hedged in by tall corn.
The stalks create a barrier from the world where I can retreat and get lost in my thoughts. Apache, on the other hand, darts here and there. Hurtling full speed down the long grassy runway to the road, she abruptly stops short and disappears into the corn. After what seems like quite a few minutes I stop and call for her. Soon I can hear the crashing as she returns to me with tail wagging and tongue lolling. I pat her head, release her, and off she goes again. I do not keep her on a leash because she comes when I call!
Often God’s people stop listening for their Master’s voice and get themselves into deep trouble. Time and again the children of Israel would forge their own path, forgetting to Whom they belonged and the commands that He gave them. They worshiped idols and other false gods while living lives that were not in keeping with God’s ways. Their disobedience caused them great grief when God had to get their attention through trouble and trials.
Yet through it all God continued to call them back through His prophets. Zechariah pleaded with the people to heed God’s voice. “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me, ‘declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.” In order to enjoy God’s favor and blessing again the people needed to return to Him wholeheartedly. This was the way home.
So often, like Apache, we tear off into the corn as we live our lives. We run on ahead of our Master, thoughtlessly darting here and there seeking to find fulfillment in self-pleasure, growing bank accounts, rising status, peer recognition, and burgeoning careers. These become our idols and what we live for, though in them there is no lasting satisfaction. In our pursuit we miss the voice of our Father. He wants us to come back! He loves us and longs to bless us, so he continues to call.
Do you hear the Master calling? “Return to Me and I will return to you.” What is your response?