The Word of the Lord

by DanWolgemuth on June 16, 2023

And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” (Zechariah 7:8–10, ESV)

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In an increasingly polarized culture… the words that God spoke to His prophet, Zechariah, seem mysteriously relevant.

Justice. Kindness. Mercy. Compassion. Humility. And forgiveness.

These words feel as though they belong as a preamble to the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. And in so many ways, what should be our preamble on our Instagram and FaceBook accounts.

Zechariah wrote these words during a time of transition. A time when the exile of the Babylon had been concluded. When God’s people were returning to their homeland.

God knew then, what He knows now… the tendency of the sinful, human heart is toward revenge. Our ego tugs us toward power and position. We dismiss what we don’t understand, and we’re too lazy to discover a truth that conflicts with our narrative. Yes, then and now.

As I read these words this morning, I was drawn to a friend. A mentor. A guide. His name is Dr. Tom Fortson.

Tom earned a Ph.D. from Michigan State, and ultimately became the President of Promise Keepers. Tom is on the board of Colorado Community Church with me… and he and his wife Toni, have become trusted friends and companions who often carry a deeply insightful, convicting and prophetic word for my soul.

Tom would describe himself as “my brother with a darker hue”. In reality, Tom not only has a darker hue, he has a deeper soul.

As a 75-year-old Black man, Tom has experienced life in a way that I haven’t.

Once, in a conversation with Tom, I asked him to share about his journey and experiences…. after a moment of hesitation, Tom responded with, “Are you sure you want to open that can of worms?”

There was no malice or anger or sarcasm in his question, just an authentic request to know if I really wanted to hear his story, or if I wanted to remain comfortably naive.

I persisted. Tom obliged. And the can opened. Gently. Thoughtfully. Honestly. And abruptly.

The insulation of ignorance was gone. And yes… the Holy Spirit of God moved the words of Zechariah 7:8-10 into the spotlight of my soul.

Justice. Care for the poor. Compassion for the marginalized. Advocacy for the weak… this is not a social agenda, it’s a biblical command. An expectation. A requirement of the rescued and redeemed.

“But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear.  They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets.  Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 7:11-12, ESV)

Diamond-hard hearts.

Plugged ears.

A stubborn shoulder…

God gave me a remedy for this diagnosis… his name is Tom.

If you are like me, I would encourage you to find someone like Tom to open the “can of worms” for you. With you.

Consider it a gift from God. I do.

I love you, Tom. Thank you.

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