Unwavering Conformity: A 21 Day Study in Stewardship, Day 9

Creation’s Savior

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Now hear these words, ‘Let your hands be strong so that the temple may be built.’ This is also what the prophets said who were present when the foundation was laid for the house of the LORD Almighty. Before that time there were no wages for people or hire for animals. No one could go about their business safely because of their enemies, since I had turned everyone against their neighbor. But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as I did in the past,” declares the LORD Almighty.
“The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people. Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse among the nations, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong. ”
This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the LORD Almighty, “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the LORD.

Zechariah 8:9-17 NIV

Scripture draws many connections between Israel’s neglect of God’s work and its economic and agricultural troubles. For example: ‘Because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces’ (Hag 1:10-11).

In this passage in Zechariah, however, it becomes evident that God has determined to remain faithful to the covenant he had made with Abraham (see Ge 12:2-3). And in Zechariah 9:17, the grain and new wine are abundant once again. Even so, God’s promised blessing does not nullify the importance of human obedience. In Zechariah 8:16-17 the prophet reiterates some of the covenant responsibilities of God’s people.

God still blesses the earth and its people with ‘grain and new wine,’ but it remains within our power to negatively affect creation. And God still expects his people to steward his blessings. The stakes have increased significantly from Zechariah’s time, though, in the connection between our obedience, our economic and agricultural productivity, and the health of our land. Says author and ecologist Calvin DeWitt:

“For most of us in North America, this may mean we need to serve more responsibly than we or our ancestors have done. It is important to hear what Scripture says about our responsibility. And while statements like the following can be quite sobering, especially in view of God’s final judgment, they can help to get us back on track if we have strayed. Revelation 11:18, for example, states that ‘the time [will] come for judging the dead, and for rewarding! [people who revere God’s name, both small and great – and for destroying those who destroy the earth].’

But God has also made a new covenant that heralds hope for the whole creation, and grace and power for those who steward creation in his name. Continues DeWitt:

“Jesus Christ, the Word incarnate, expressing God’s profound love for the world (Jn 3:16-17), moves into creation to break the chains of sin and its effects on creation. Jesus Christ renews the life of the earth. Jesus is the hope of the world, and we, his followers, are his ambassadors (2 Co 5:20), representing him as witnesses before all people and as stewards of creation.” 

All the principles on creation care that we have gleaned from Scripture originate, reverberate, and find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ – the Logos through whom the whole creation has its meaning and destiny! Filled with the Spirit of God to become like the second Adam (2 Co 3:18) rather than the first Adam, we become servants of the garden, of humanity, of the whole creation – to the glory of God! Christians need to reclaim the stewardship of this creation in light of the sheer physicality of salvation in the new creation.

After you read through the Scripture, please reflect upon the following questions: in what way will God judge those who fail in their stewardship responsibilities, how do you act as Jesus’s ambassador, and how does your representation of Jesus tie to your role as a steward of creation?

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