“In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, son of Iddo, saying, “The LORD was very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets cried out, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, Return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.’ But they did not hear or pay attention to me, declares the LORD. Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? So they repented and said, As the LORD of hosts purposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so has he dealt with us.” (Zechariah 1:1-6, ESV)
One of the great lessons to learn about mankind is the ways in which the decisions of men work in cycles. A study of history shows that over the centuries men have continued the same series of ebb and flow in the choices they make. On the one hand, such realizations are infuriating, because they show that most people refuse to learn from the mistakes of those that lived earlier. On the other hand, it breeds hope, because each generation has an opportunity to change their direction, for it has been done in the past.
Such a pronouncement is being made in this passage. The previous generations had refused God’s will. They had been rebellious and evil in their deeds and had been punished accordingly. However, this is a new generation, with a chance for a fresh start.
As Christians who are trying to reach people with the Gospel, we need to realize that each generation is another chance. We often proclaim how bad things are getting and how morally corrupt our society has become, but it doesn’t have to remain that way. Each generation is a renewed opportunity to turn from those evil ways and embrace the righteousness of God.
However, we can only bring about that change if we continue to teach the pure Gospel of Christ. We cannot water it down, or change it to fit the times, or seek to make it more palatable, it must be presented in its purest form in order to have the impact on man’s heart. How devoted are we to making sure the pure message of Christ is available to the next generation?