Then the angel of the LORD said, ‘O LORD of hosts, how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which you have been angry these seventy years?’ And the LORD answered gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me (Zechariah 1:12-13).
In the first of a series of visions, Zechariah sees a small “special operations” force sent by God to patrol the earth (1:7-11). When it is reported that “all the earth remains at rest,” the angel of the LORD asks, “O LORD of hosts, how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem . . .?” The LORD responded with “gracious and comforting words,” indicating that he was going to act in Jerusalem’s favor.
God truly is, “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Ex. 34:6-7). Considering the repeated failures of his ancient people, we wonder why God didn’t give up on them. Why doesn’t he give up on us?
“God’s love,” writes Ethan Richardson, “is typified by foolish perseverance. It stands in direct contradiction to the common sense of a prudish business model.”* God will not violate his covenant promises (Ps. 89:34). He cannot lie (Num. 23:19, Titus 1:2, Heb. 6:18). As Paul says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2:13).
God pursues rebels: Liars, cheaters, swindlers, whores, prostitutes, Ivy League graduates, straight A students, home-schoolers, AWANA champions, and soccer-moms. All are in need of forgiveness.
Simply put, if you are God’s child, know that God will never stop coming after you. He is the hound of heaven. His love is relentless; his mercies are new every morning; his faithfulness reaches to the skies (Ps. 36:5).
“You are loved, someone said. Take that and eat it.”**
* Ethan Richardson, This American Gospel: Public Radio Parables & the Grace of God (Charlottesville: Mockingbird Ministries, 2012), 97.
** Mary Karr, “Disgraceland,” in Sinners Welcome: Poems (NY: HarperCollins, 2006), 7.