Zech. 7:12 - "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."
There are several places in the Biblical text where the value of precious stones is used to communicate something of the value of heavenly things. Think of all the precious stones John saw in Revelation to describe the dazzling glory of being in God's presence (Rev. 4:1-3, 21:9-27). Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a pearl of great price worth more than anything else you may have (Matt. 13:45-46). Paul even compared some of the Christians he taught with precious material's ability to withstand the refining fire of judgment (1 Cor. 3:12-15). Even though the Bible mostly uses gemstones and other valuables to hint at the worth of heavenly things, in Zechariah 7, the comparison is negative. The density of diamonds is compared to how impervious some people can make their hearts toward God.
To the post-exilic Jews, Zechariah offered a warning to avoid the mistakes of their ancestors and instead listen to the instruction of God. However, the people would repeat the attitude and actions of their forefathers. Zechariah uses three figures of speech to help them understand how they appeared to God.
1. They turned their backs or shrugged their shoulders at God.
Like a disrespectful person, the Israelites had shrugged off God's attempt to reach out to them and draw them close. There is an independent arrogance in this attitude. Instead of listening to our Creator and Redeemer, we function as if we are god and assume that we know better than He.
2. They stopped up their ears.
Instead of having "ears to hear", they willingly made themselves deaf to God's instruction. This past Sunday my youngest son decided he had heard enough of me singing during worship and plugged his ears with his stubby little fingers as he smiled. Spiritually we can do the same thing with God.
3. They made their hearts diamond-hard.
Instead of maintaining tender, sensitive hearts, this process resulted in a diamond-like heart which was impervious to God's warnings.
We need to hear Zechariah's warning today. We too can have the same attitudes and the same heart. We need to develop humility and acknowledge that God is GOD, not me. Instead of closing my ears to him and going my own way, I need to pay attention to what God has said. Instead of developing a heart that is as hard as a diamond, humility and submissive listening will let God's instruction go deep into a tender and receptive heart.
If Zechariah were writing to you, what would he compare your heart to?
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What have you done to develop or maintain a heart sensitive to God and His instruction? How did He get your attention and reach you when your heart was hard or hardening? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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