Summary: Exposition of Zech. 7
Making God Glad
What makes you glad?
The word glad is derived from a old German word glat= shining. To be glad is to have a grin painted on your face that won’t wipe off. You can be glad about something good that happens, or glad about something bad that doesn’t happen. You’re glad for that unexpected check in the mail; you’re glad the medical tests came back negative.
Gladness can be inspired by a beautiful sunrise, or the presence of someone you love. A baby’s smile or just holding hands with you wife can make you glad.
You can be glad after a close call, a promise for the future, or forgiveness for the past. Believe it or not, some people even get glad about their religion. The Psalmist once sang about God:
Psalm 92:4 For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work…
I suppose gladness is an emotion everybody feels or has felt at time or another. We could run down an endless list of what makes you and I glad. But have you ever wondered: what makes God glad? What brings a smile to His face? What stirs joy in His heart? What makes Him glad?
Even though we don’t ask it much, it is an important question. One of the reasons you and I were created was to give God gladness. Too often, this world fills Him with sadness and grief. What if I told you 3 things you could do to make God glad? Would you be willing to do them? Would you be willing to give the One Who makes you glad some gladness? I want to focus on this question tonight, and look at some ways you and I can make God glad. These specific 3 things all come from Zech. 7. Beginning in vs. 1-7, the Bible says you make God glad
I. WHEN YOU DO WHAT YOU DO FOR HIM. (v. 1-7)
Zech. 7 opens up about 2 years after the night the prophet had all of those visions from the previous chapter: Dec. 7, 518 BC. The Jews are about halfway through the rebuilding of the Temple, when they get a visit from a delegation from the town of Bethel, which is about 12 miles north of Jerusalem. Before the exile, Bethel was notorious for being a center for idol worship in the northern kingdom of Israel. But since then, they’ve apparently learned their lesson, and now worship only the Lord. They send a group up to Jerusalem, vs. 2 says, to pray before the Lord= lit, to stroke the face of the Lord., to entreat. They city where once God was dishonored now wants to know how they can please Him, how they can bring a smile to His face, how they can make God glad. They wrap this question within another question: should we continue to mourn in remembrance of the fall of Jerusalem in the 5th month?
For almost 70 years, Israel set aside a day to fast and grieve over the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. They’d dress up in funeral clothes, go without food, and pray prayers of confession and ask God to bring them back to their homeland. Now the Temple is about to be finished, they want to know God haven’t we suffered enough? Haven’t we prayed enough and confessed enough? When will let us come back home? Israel was like a kid sent to the corner who constantly asks can I get out now? Can I get out now? What about now? They weren’t really sorry for what they had done; they just wanted for the punishment to end.
Through Zechariah God answers Were you really doing all this fasting and praying and confessing for Me? All of these religious rituals—were you doing them because you were truly repentant and ready to obey, or because you wanted to use Me to get what you wanted? God asks them to examine their motives. Were you doing all of this for Me—or for yourself?
This is a very important question because it’s very easy to do religious things for yourself, but claim to do them for God. It’s very easy to turn prayer into your “to-do” list for God, instead of seeking His glory through your requests. It’s very easy to read the Bible looking and see yourself instead of seeing God. It’s easy to come to church because of “what you get out of it” than to come to church to worship the Lord. You can do good things—spiritual things—even religious things selfishly, with little or no thought for making God glad. But the truth is, you make God glad only when you do what you do for Him.
Jesus echoes this truth in Matt. 6:1-7 when He talks about giving, fasting and praying. Some give just to get a pat on the back from other people; some fast, just to hear poor sweet baby! How holy he is!; some pray to get the audience’s attention, instead of God’s attention. These people do what they do for themselves, not God. The selfish motives keep these acts from ever touching the heart of God.