Summary: god promises to establish His Kingdom through Israel. The blessed nation will become a blessing to the world. God will make that happen by His sovereign grace and will.
Two years after the night visions and about halfway through the rebuilding project, a delegation from Bethel came with a question for the priests and prophets.
• “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?” (7:3)
• Zechariah gave them these FOUR messages from God, two in chapter 7 and 52o in chapter 8.
• We identify them by this line: “Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me…” (7:4, 8 and 8:1, 18.)
The first message highlighted the truth that it’s not about traditions or rituals but the conduct of their lives that matters.
• The self-imposed fasts or feasts were not God’s idea in the first place. What God is looking for is the truthfulness of their hearts before Him.
• God looks for spiritual reality and not the empty rituals. Are they doing it for God, or for themselves? The repetitions and the routines mean nothing.
In the second message God states clearly what He is looking for:
“Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” (7:9b-10)
• Care for those who are weak and in need. This is true spirituality, not the rituals of some external formalities.
• I like how the Lord puts it, “In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” You need not have to do it to be wrong. Even without actions, the evil thought in your heart – the unseen and undone – is enough to condemn you.
• God is looking for such spirituality, and He is going to make that happen for the people to truly honour Him.
Read message 3 – Zech 8:1-8. God promises to establish His Kingdom through them.
God says He is exceedingly jealous for Zion. He will return and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. He will transform it into a city of truth.
• This reformation happens when God makes His presence felt in Jerusalem through the reign of Christ in the end times.
• God is going to reverse all that Jerusalem has experienced. The future Jerusalem will be so peaceful that both the old and young can sit and play freely in its streets.
• God’s presence is their security and peace.
The exiles who were now back in the land of Judah had a foretaste of what is to come.
• They were back because God was very jealous for them and God made their return from captivity a reality.
• And now they were told this was just a precursor of the greater blessings to come.
Such a scene was too marvellous for the remnant in Zechariah’s time, and almost unreal.
• But the Lord says, “… will it seem marvellous to me?” (8:6). Will this seems too impossible for me? I planned it!
• 8:7-8 “I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, 8and 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.”
God will regather His scattered people, from East and West, meaning from all over, and bring them back to this land.
• We see the same prophecy in Ezekiel 11:17 …`This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.'
• The group of returnees in Zechariah’s time were just the beginning of what God will ultimately do for all Israel.
God will reverse Jerusalem’s past. Read Zech 8:9-13.
• The past situation was difficult and the circumstances harsh. The enemies were against them. But that’s the past.
• “I will not deal with the remnant of this people as I did in the past.” (8:11)
• He will save them and transform them. The land will produce. Instead of being an object of cursing among the nations, they will become a blessing.
• If that is Jerusalem’s future, then “do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.” (8:13). God is charting Jerusalem’s future, so to speak.
But is this for real? Can this really happen? [God heard you.] Read Zech 8:14-17.
The Lord affirmed the certainty of the fulfilment of what He has just said.
• Look at the past. I did what I said I would do. I said I would punish your forefathers when they sinned, and I’ve done it.
• And the remnant could testify to this because they lived through it - the exile.
• God: As I had determined to bring disaster upon them then, so I have determined now to do good to Jerusalem and Judah, so I will save you and you will be a blessing. (cf. 8:14-15)