I have met some amazingly wonderful people through the avenue of blogging. They challenge me, encourage me, speak truth to me, and provide excellent community. I’m grateful to have made a few new, meaningful friendships with like-minded people.
I received the following letter from a reader who is a former homeschool graduate with a college degree from Moody Bible Institute. The below letter was sent directly to the church.
This is another biblical challenge for the church leadership to change the path they are taking.
Dear Pastors of First Baptist Festus,
I am not sure if you are familiar with the passage in Zechariah 7. In my 30+ years in the church, I have never been fortunate enough to hear a sermon on this passage. It really speaks to the WHY of what we do.
“The people[a] sent Sherezer. . . to the house of God, to pray before the Lord, and to ask…, “Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?”
Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, “. . . ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me? When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? Should you not have obeyed the words which the Lord proclaimed through the former prophets…?’”
Zachariah 7:2 – 7
Could fasting or other spiritual practices really be insulting to God?
I am struck with God’s response to the question as to if they should continue their observance of fasting. God wanted to know if the mourning and fasting was for Him? For His glory? God didn’t need to ask a rhetorical question – He is all knowing, but I presume He wanted to evoke thoughts that would result in repentance, change and restoration. Simply put – He was confronting them. Sadly, they didn’t listen!
In verse 9, the Lord Almighty said this “Administer true JUSTICE, show mercy and compassion to one another.” Simply, love mercy and DO Justice. Justice is compassionate and precedes mercy. No surprise that a just God is justice-oriented.
Verse 10 speaks to not oppressing widows, the fatherless, foreigners or poor. And to NOT plot evil against one another.
Sadly, they weren’t inspired by the words of God. They didn’t get to the business of justice. It seems shocking that they were too busy to listen to God because, after all, they were building the temple
“They refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders and stopped their ears…They made their hearts as hard as flint.” (verse 11 – 12) God was angry! Injustice makes God angry!
The chapter ends with “When I called they didn’t listen . . . I scattered them . . . This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.”
When I heard that a memorial service was being held for Lynn Messer, my first thought was, “Why?” Why another one in addition to the one held by Lynn’s sons, sisters and mom? If Kerry was holding another one, why didn’t this happen at the same as when her bones were buried? Why now? Why isn’t there justice for Lynn? Why would First Baptist Festus continue to align themselves with a man who appears to have a heart of flint and is unrepentant?
Why is First Baptist Festus focused on mercy for one man but not on justice for Lynn? Throughout the Bible and in God’s economy, justice comes first and then mercy. Is it really merciful to not do justice? NO!
My heart is especially grieved by earthly fathers and, in particular, Christian earthly fathers who do not emulate the love of our Heavenly Father to their children. Fathers who give their children stones and snakes when the children ask for bread and fish have done something more devastating than breaking the hearts of their children – these evil fathers trample on the very earthly institution that God instituted to remind us of His love. I am pretty sure this angers a just God. (Matthew 7:9-11) I am saddened by the manner in which Kerry has treated his sons.
Could having a memorial for service for a dear lady be the wrong thing to do? I submit to you that YES it is just as it was wrong for the fasting to take place in the above passage. Justice first, then mercy not fasting or memorial services that are self-serving. The best way to honor Lynn is to act justly, to love her sons and to honor the sanctity of marriage!
What should happen next weekend is that Kerry Messer should be urged to cooperate with law enforcement and repent – if for nothing else than for having an affair. It is hard to believe that a husband with a missing wife would start a relationship just weeks after the wife went missing unless he knew she wasn’t coming home. And makes you wonder if then the new relationship wasn’t the reason for Lynn’s death?
Please don’t continue to bring dishonor to my Lord and Savior by your unwillingness to stand for justice. Lynn had evil plotted against her, so don’t be too busy “building your temple” to take a stand for justice. Don’t allow your hearts to be that of flint. I am sad to think that a failure to seek justice will result in making the “pleasant land” of First Baptist desolate.
Justice before Mercy,
Click link ‘LYNN MESSER’ in margin for more articles.