“Getting honest was the beginning of my healing and recovery” – Jessica.
Scripture lets us know that it is very important to God that we live honest, fair, and truthful lives with each other, respecting Him and His name in the process. The prophet Zechariah’s next night vision reflected these concepts.
1 Once again I lifted up my eyes and behold, I saw a flying scroll!
2 Then the angel asked me, “What do you see?”
I replied, “I see a flying scroll twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.”
3 He said to me: “This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole land: everyone who steals will be swept away from here according to it, and everyone who swears will be swept away from here according to it.” 4 “I will send it out”—it is a declaration of Adonai-Tzva’ot—“and it will enter into the house of the thief and into the house of the one who swears falsely by My Name and will reside inside his house destroying it, both its wood and its stones.” Zechariah 5:1-4 (TLV)
(Note: A cubit is around a foot and a half in length, a bit less than half a meter, and Adonai-Tzva’ot means the “Lord of Hosts”).
God’s coming kingdom will one day replace all of the human governments and empires that preceded it. It will be a government of a completely different nature, not tolerating theft or corruption or using the name of the Lord in vain for blasphemous speech or to swear to untruths. These practices have been rampant in the interactions and business dealings among people and institutions throughout much of history. God will root these transgressions out of His kingdom, referring to them as a curse upon the whole land.
The flying scroll in Zechariah’s vision represents the God’s holy law in the Ten Commandments, which brings judgment upon the entire earth. The scroll is open, and on one side is written judgement for thievery, and on the other for lies and blasphemies.
The problem is that scripture tells us in Romans 3 that all people have sinned and fall short of the perfection and glory of God. We have all lied at one time or another, or taken something that belonged to someone else, or even used the Lord’s name in a blasphemous way in a moment of anger. Some of us have done all of this on a regular basis.
So, what hope do we imperfect people have of spending eternity with a God so far above us in purity and holiness?
Our hope is totally in Christ. We have been offered the gift of grace and complete forgiveness through His sacrifice on the cross. The choice is ours whether we want to accept and receive His offer or not.
The path before us is well-illustrated in the gospel account of two thieves who were crucified on either side of Jesus. One thief joined with the crowd and mocked Jesus as He hung there for His humiliating “defeat”. But the other thief was penitent for his sins. While recognizing that he deserved his punishment, he defended Jesus as being totally innocent and unfairly suffering a cruel death.
39 One of the evildoers hanging there was jeering at Him, saying, “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself—and us!”
40 But the other one, rebuking him, replied, “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? 41 We’re getting what we deserve for our actions, and rightly so—but this One has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Yeshua, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 Yeshua said to him, “Amen, I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43 (TLV)
If we take an honest account of our sins and shortcomings, how we have hurt God, others, and ourselves with our selfish words, thoughts, and actions, we can humbly bring them before the Lord for His forgiveness. And like the penitent thief on the cross who came to his senses and in faith asked for Jesus’ forgiveness, we too will be welcomed by Christ into the Paradise of His eternal kingdom. The Lord will never turn away any sinner who humbly and sincerely seeks His grace and mercy, no matter how wayward our lives have been. As long as we have breath, there is still time for each one of us to approach the cross of Christ in faith to seek the gift of eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17 (ESV)
There is a benefit to taking a regular inventory of our behavior, both good and bad, and use what we find to bring our failures before the Lord for forgiveness and to see where we need to make amends to others.
Where have we taken something or cheated someone else out of something that really belonged to them? We give it back.
Do we routinely use foul language to emphasize a point or tell filthy jokes to fit in with a crowd? We stop doing so.
Did we lie or “bend the truth” in order to avoid consequences or responsibility? We come clean.
Do we watch things on the television or online that are blasphemous to the Lord and the principles of His kingdom? We put it down.
It is easy to fall short in any of these areas, but the vision of the flying scroll is there to tell us that God expects us to do our best in all these areas. When we have fallen down, we humbly approach Him for forgiveness, get up and seek His power to help us be more successful the next time. It is a lifetime process of learning to lean upon Jesus to live a more holy life.
Father God, we thank You so much for Your limitless grace and mercy towards us. Like the penitent thief on the cross, we come to Christ for complete forgiveness for our sins and shortcomings. Help us to walk in the Light of goodness and be a person reflecting Kingdom principles. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.