Providing for the Widow and the Orphan (Zechariah 7:8–10) - Radical

Providing for the Widow and the Orphan (Zechariah 7:8–10)

“And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts. Render true judgments. Show kindness and mercy to one another. Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.'”
-Zechariah 7:8–10

What a potent few verses. When you think about the context here, this is God’s people and the process of rebuilding the temple and returning to God, not just to the land that God had promised to bring them back to after the exile, but returning to intimacy with God. And right before this in Zechariah chapter seven, God talks about how they had participated in religious rituals and fasting and mourning in the fifth month and the seventh month it talks about in verse five.

God, help us to serve those like the widow, the orphan, and the poor.

So for years, God’s people had done these things, but they had missed the point. They had participated in religious ritual and yet they had not rendered true judgments. They had not shown kindness and mercy to one another. They had oppressed widows and orphans and sojourners and the poor. They’d devised evil against each other in their hearts. Is that possible? Is it possible for the people of God to participate in religious rituals of all kinds, including fasting, and to miss the whole point by not showing kindness and mercy and justice to one another and the world around them? So God, we pray, directly based on Zechariah chapter seven verses eight through 10, that you would help us to render true judgements, to show kindness to one another, to show mercy to one another.

God, even as I pray just each of these things, God, that you would help us to care for the widow, to care for the orphan, to care for the sojourner, to care for the poor, and to not devise evil but to devise good for one another in our hearts. God, even as I pray each of those things specifically, I pray that your spirit would open our eyes and our hearts to realize how we can do these things more faithfully in our lives. I just want to read them one more time straight from verses nine and 10. And as I read them, we pray, oh God, that you would move our hearts and help us to think of maybe even just one or two specific ways after we finish this prayer that we might do these things. God, help us to render true judgements, to show kindness to one another, to show mercy to one another, to not oppress the widow, to care for, provide for the widow, to care for, provide for the fatherless, the orphan, to care and provide for the sojourner, to care and provide for the poor.

God, we pray you would help us to devise good for one another, not evil against one another. God, I just pray for the leadership of your spirit in my life and everybody’s life who’s listening to this right now, that you would help us to put this into practice, what we’re reading in Zechariah 7:8 through 10. Help us to put it into practice today in specific ways according to your word. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Throughout the fall, we are following the McLean Bible Church Reading Plan. You can access the reading plan here.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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