Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Zechariah 8-14
Chapter 8 is the most marked up chapter in the book of Zechariah for me so fair warning.
Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain. – Zech 8:3
As I was reading this, the phrase that stuck out to me was “Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city”. An entire city, faithful to YHWH. That is something that can only exist in our wildest imagination at this point in our history, and yet as Believers I think we can and likely do imagine such a wonderful thing. But then, as we do with all of the Bible, we must apply this to ourselves. Are we counted as faithful in His eyes? Remember, all facets and burrows of the world may be going sideways, but the individual always has a choice.
As we move on into chapter 8, we are given images of the peace and joy that will exist in Jerusalem when the Father resides there. This particular passage warmed my heart and I couldn’t help but smile at the visual, realizing that the Father and I have similar ideals of what joyful streets would look like.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the Lord of hosts: If it is marvelous in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in my sight, declares the Lord of hosts? Thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.” Zech 8:4-9
Wise elders sitting in the streets while children play before them, the Father calling this a marvelous sight as He beholds the remnant of his people. These are the faithful ones.
Zech 8:12 really broke my heart a bit:
For there shall be a sowing of peace…
This pained me to read because the contrast is so great between that image and what we have now. All too often, we see the body of Believers led astray or of their own desire sowing discord. I will then apply the assurance at the end of Zech 8:13 to our time as welll ” …Fear not, but let your hands be strong.”
Here are the Father’s instructions to that remnant. As these are not new instructions, we can take them as a reminder and directive that absolutely applies to us today.
These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.” Zech 8:16-18
Do you ever think about what it means to “speak truth to one another.” Like a polished gemstone, there are many facets to that – and we have a responsibility to examine each of them. Sharing false statements and slandering those we disagree with are very much one of the ways in which we sow discord – and anger the Father. Please forgive me for these being fresh on my mind as I’ve just clicked over from Facebook, where I see the posts of many believers in my feed. As children of the Most High, we are very much at that point where the Father is counting to a proverbial three before coming into the room and catching all of us red handed doing exactly what we are not supposed to be doing.
We see the phrase “Lord of Hosts” a lot. What does that mean exactly? First of all, if the LORD is all caps, that means that God’s personal name originally appeared here (YHWH) and was removed from the text and replaced with LORD. Click here for more info on that.
The “of hosts” part is sometimes translated to “LORD of armies” or “LORD almighty”in some Bibles. When using the terms “hosts” or “armies” it helps to think in terms of legions of angels who are at the Father’s command. This is a term used to remind the reader of His majesty and power, and to give us a glimpse of the level of resources available to Him at the mere sound of His voice. It is similar to you meeting someone centuries ago and him introducing himself simply as George. Then, later on, a problem occurs and your new friend, George, steps up to handle it but first he introduces himself to the room as “I am King George the thirteenth of Great Britain, ruler of the commonwealth and all her colonies, protector of the realm, guardian of the eastern hemisphere.” Note: I made that title up of course and it bears no weight at all when compared to the Father’s name standing on its own, in and of itself but I think it makes my point.
A clear, bold promise is found in Zechariah 10 which, once more, contradicts replacement theology, supersessionism, or any thought that “the church” has replaced Israel.
6 “I will strengthen the house of Judah,
and I will save the house of Joseph.
I will bring them back because I have compassion on them,
and they shall be as though I had not rejected them,
for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them.
7 Then Ephraim shall become like a mighty warrior,
and their hearts shall be glad as with wine.
Their children shall see it and be glad;
their hearts shall rejoice in the Lord. Zech 10:6-7
However, if you’ve been reading with us for any amount of time, you know that through our Messiah, we can absolutely see ourselves included in this passage as well.
Make notes of Zech 10:12 ? “I will make them strong in YHWH, and they shall walk in his name,” declares YHWH.” What a promise!
We have a warning in Zech 11:16.
For behold, I am raising up in the land a shepherd who does not care for those being destroyed, or seek the young or heal the maimed or nourish the healthy, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs. Zech 11:16
Remember, when we harden our hearts to Him, when we choose our idols or foolish shepherds instead of Him, He allows us to have our way so that we can experience the disparity of life apart from Him. Just as when Israel demanded a King in 1 Samuel 8, sometimes YHWH gives us the leaders (shepherds) we deserve rather than the leaders we want. Even then, the individual always has a choice.
We go on in Zech 14 to see the requirement and full expectation of the people keeping the “Feast of Booths” or Sukkot as we call it, in the future. Of course we knew this will happen because the Father knew what “forever” meant when He used it to describe His appointed times at the time He established them. But let us backtrack to another key set of verses real quick. This set shows us the dividing of the flock if you will, the lukewarm and cold from the wholehearted and obedient:
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,
against the man who stands next to me,”
declares the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered;
I will turn my hand against the little ones.
8 In the whole land, declares the Lord,
two thirds shall be cut off and perish,
and one third shall be left alive.
9 And I will put this third into the fire,
and refine them as one refines silver,
and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name,
and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘They are my people’;
and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” Zech 13:7-9
If you’re in the Word daily, spending time seeking the Father’s heart, He will inevitably take hold of you, hold you in His hand, and pass you through that precious refiner’s fire where He will burn off all that keeps us from living in His will for us. And as I’ve said before: Remember, when you’re passing through that refiner’s fire, you’re also being held in the refiner’s hand. No matter how hot the flames, there is no better place to be.
We’ve completed several books lately! Rak Chazak!
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!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!