“The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD.”
The spiritual negligence of the nation of Israel is commonly known. They were consistently inconsistent in their devotion to God. They would turn to God when He severely chastised them; soon after, would return to their careless and rebellious ways. God’s message to Zechariah was that He was “sore displeased” with their fathers who “did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD.” He admonished the people, “Be ye not as your fathers.”
We know there is a natural tendency to be like our parents. This is sometimes a good thing. Some were reared in solid Christian homes and were taught by godly parents who were great examples to follow. We should certainly thank God for the great privilege of being influenced by parents or grandparents who were sincere believers and proper role models for us. However, many did not have that opportunity. Some were saved as adults or teenagers and knew nothing of a Christian home environment. Others may have had parents who claimed to be saved but were not committed to living for the Lord.
Zechariah’s message, “Be ye not as your fathers,” contains great hope and direction for those who want to live more consistently for the Lord than their parents did. If God tells us that we are to be different from our fathers, we can be assured that it is possible to live differently from our fathers. It is fairly common for people to believe that they are somehow locked into a cycle or pattern of undesirable behavior because of the lifestyle of their parents. This is simply not true.
If we came from a past with no godly heritage, we can be different from our fathers. How is that possible? Zechariah tells us that we must turn from our evil ways, turn to the Lord and hearken to His Word. The Scripture promised that if they would turn to God, He would turn to them, and they would not have to be as their fathers.