Summary: Exposition of Zech. 14
Getting Ready for Days Like These
You need to be prepared for days like these. Paul write to Timothy in :
2 Timothy 3:1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
The NKJV has a note by that word perilous= times of stress. That sound familiar, doesn’t it? Jesus spoke along the same lines when He spoke to His disciples in Matt. 24 about the end of the age. After describing world wars, deadly plagues, persecution, and earthquakes, He adds
Matthew 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Whatever else the Bible says, one thing it makes very clear: living in the last days is not all fun and games. God always shoots straight with us. He wants us to be ready for days like this.
An old song says “Mama said there’d be days like this!” The singer recalls how mama tried to tell us life is not always sunshine and roses, not always laughter and light. Some days are dark and lonely. Some days you wonder how you’re going to make it through. Mama’s warnings are not meant to discourage us, but to prepare us to be ready to hold on tight until we got past days like that.
I think the Bible uses a similar approach. When you read about the “last days” the Lord doesn’t draw us detailed map of what will happen, when it will happen and how it will happen,. But He does warn us like Mama: there will be “days like this” when things get dark, and lonely, and you wonder how you’ll make it. He warns us not to be shocked when trouble comes, but be ready to hold on tight to Him, ride out the storm until it’s over.
God sent a message like this for the prophet Zechariah to relay to Israel as they rebuilt their temple and nation. This same message is addressed to you and me tonight to give us courage and hope as we live in the “last days” between Jesus’ first and second coming. Look with tonight at 3 things we must remember to get ready for days like these:
1. It often gets worse before it gets better. (v. 1-2)
David Roper writes: Somebody once told me, “Cheer up! Things could be worse!” And sure enough, I cheered up, and things got worse!
Do you ever have days like that? Bro. Mike, I have years like that! It’s not always easy to keep your spirits up when you’re going through hard times-especially when things go from bad to worse to worst! It’s worse when those days hit you when you least expect them. The Lord goes to great lengths to prepare us for the fact that in the last days, just as in life, it often gets worse before it gets better. Zechariah tells Israel in vs. 1-2. Behold the day of the Lord is coming!...I will gather all nations to battle against Jerusalem…
This is not a welcome message for the exiles. We’re still working on rebuilding this place after one army destroyed it—now you say there’s going to be another war against us? Worse than that—everything in Jerusalem will be plundered, the houses looted, the women raped, half the people in the city will be exiled, leaving only a few hiding among the ruins.
It is not clear exactly when these events will occur. Some scholars see Zechariah’s words as a description of what is called the “Battle of Armageddon.” Others see it as a description of a pattern replayed throughout Israel’s history: God’s people are often attacked and defeated, rebuilding, only to be devastated again. What is very clear here is that on the Day of the Lord—the last day---things will definitely get worse before they get better.
Nobody likes to hear news like this. It doesn’t sound reassuring, but it is realistic. God doesn’t pull punches with us; He tells it like it will be. It often gets worse before it gets better.
That’s certainly true in the last days. When anybody asked Jesus about what would happen right before His return to earth, He almost always started out with bad news—war, plagues, earthquakes. Paul tells us in
2 Thessalonians 2:3 …that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
A recurring theme throughout the Revelation is the horrifying, devastating events that happen before Christ returns. But the important thing to remember is that it usually gets worse before it gets better. After the “worse” comes the “better”. “Those days” don’t last forever—better days are ahead.
Luke 21:28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
This principle holds true not only for the last days, but also for any of “these days” you and I live through right now. Jesus never promised you and I smooth sailing in life. If you read the Gospels carefully, He clearly promises us hardship, persecution, and suffering.