Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Zechariah 1-7
- Zechariah is believed to be the author of this book.
- We don’t know a lot about Zechariah, other than the fact that his grandfather was also a prophet named Iddo. (Zech 1:1) Iddo is mentioned in Chronicles as well.
- Zechariah’s Hebrew name transliterates at Z’kharyah. This means “YHWH remembered” or “YHWH remembers”. Knowing that he was from a family of priests, I can just imagine the promise his family felt at his birth when they gave him that name.
- These prophecies take place during the reign of King Darius, after they had returned from their 70 years of Babylonian exile.
So many books in the Bible feature their most breathtaking quotes in the middle or even at the closing lines, but Zechariah begins by taking your breath away:
3 Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. Zech 1:3
Remember, never just take a single verse. Whenever someone gives you a verse, take a chapter. Better yet, take a book. Better yet, take the whole book.
2 “The Lord was very angry with your fathers. 3 Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. 4 Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets cried out, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, Return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.’ But they did not hear or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. 5 Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? So they repented and said, ‘As the Lord of hosts purposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so has he dealt with us.’” Zech 1:2-6
The Father is reminding them of the sin of their fathers. This is the tragedy of their spiritual heritage (amid the glory of it). Remember this is occurring after they had returned from Babylonian exile, which was a punishment from YHWH for the sins of their fathers, which He is bringing to mind now. At this point, being reminded by YHWH of exactly why they had to go into exile, of the responsibilities their father’s bore for that punishment, will surely strike a nerve. Jeremiah 16:19 comes to mind… “Surely we have inherited lies!”. If you didn’t check out that entire verse back when we were studying Jeremiah, you’ll definitely want to do that today so that you don’t miss how applicable it is to us.
I see Zech 1:6 as another reminder that the Father’s word is eternal. His commandments, which He said were everlasting, are, in fact, everlasting. I know we all nod in agreement when we read statements like that but we must be careful not to just let it be a statement we repeat but never take to heart. We must take this and look over our lives with an honest mirror. Truly seeking to find anything that does not line up with His word in order that we might remove it.
We have to be careful never to read the Bible as if it were speaking to someone else.
Zech 1:11 tells us the angel of YHWH found the earth to be “at rest and at peace”. Although we may initially think this to be a good thing, Zech 1:15 tells us that this made YHWH “exceedingly angry” so we that gives us better context. At this time, Israel had returned and yet the temple was not being rebuilt. There was no scurrying about, working to rebuild what had been torn down or to learn Torah or to serve the Father. They were at peace, complacent, unconcerned.
We see more of this as we keep reading: 15 And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little, they furthered the disaster. Zech 1:15
Remember, when things are going badly, the best thing you can do is not make them worse. I would venture to say that most of us, in may of the ways that we have disobeyed the Father before reading His entire Word and giving it authority, we had no idea how we were sinning against Him. When your main lead is to just follow the person in front of you, it takes a while to notice that you’re heading for a cliff. But once we read the Word and the Father Himself shows us what He expects from us, that is the point where we must decide if we are going to return to Him or further our disaster.
Zechariah 2:5 is a verse I want us to stop on for a minute and take the time to try to imagine!
And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares YHWH, and I will be the glory in her midst. Zechariah 2:5
Zechariah 2:7 reminds me of Revelations 18:4-5
Up! Escape to Zion, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. Zech 2:7
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” Rev 18:4-5
Have you ever considered being called out of the only land you’ve ever known by the Father? More directly, being ordered out of the only land you’ve ever known by the Father? I think of this often whenever I’m reading in Exodus but I confess that I’ve looked around this world today, this country, and pondered if the Father might issue such a directive, and what my response would be. I think our initial response belays a good bit of info on where we are spiritually and just how much of that throne in our lives we’ve given over to the Father.
We cannot afford to continue this self indulgent dialogue that tells us YHWH would never ask something of us.
The goal is to get to the point where our immediate response is an unquestionable packing of the bags, without missing a beat.
These days, I can be out the door in ten minutes.
Be silent, all flesh, before YHWH, for He has roused Himself out of His holy dwelling. Zech 2:13
I don’t know about y’all, but just reading that made me gasp and sit still for a moment. Seriously, imagine that!
Zechariah chapter three brings the high priest Joshua into the picture. Check out the Wikipedia page on him and see what his Hebrew name was (the name he was actually called in his lifetime). He shares a given name with another and hopefully it sounds familiar to you by now. I do not think this is a coincidence, but another intentional pattern and parallel. In this case, tying one high priest to the ultimate high priest.
We end chapter 7 with an lengthy statement that I want to challenge each of us to take to soul today. We need to take this personally. Using this text to examine ourselves by.
8 And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, 9 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” 11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. 12 They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. 13 “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the Lord of hosts, 14 “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.” Zech 7:8-14
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!