Summary: Divine grace cannot be divorced from human responsibility. The bestowing of the riches of covenant grace are for those who are genuinely willing to turn away from sin to follow God alone.
REPENTANCE PRECEDES RESTORATION
The visions of God showering His people with the riches of divine treasure must first be prefaced by the message that travels parallel down the track, arm in arm with divine blessings. The eternal truth which the opening oracle enunciates is one which runs throughout the revealed ways of God’s dealings with man. The appropriation and enjoyment of God’s promised blessings must be preceded by genuine repentance (CIT). Only based upon heart changing repentance will Zechariah’s prophecies of assurance and blessing, centered in the Messiah be offered and promised.
Divine grace cannot be divorced from human responsibility. The bestowing of the riches of covenant grace are for those who are genuinely willing to turn away from sin to follow God alone. If the clarion call to repentance is not individually and corporately heeded by individual and churchwide repentance, then neither will the blessings which Zechariah proclaims throughout the book be ours. Until we are ready to obey God rather than self or the world we have no avenue to ask God to open up His storehouse upon us! The way of the Lord must be prepared before the Lord comes down. Repentance and blessing walk hand in hand.
Let us also realize who received this call to repentance. It was the faithful remnant who returned to the Promised Land. Those afar off would not have this opportunity to hear the divine call and thus lose the opportunity to heed it.
I. DIVINE AUTHORITY AND ASSURANCE, 1-3.
II. HUMAN ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND ACCEPTANCE, 4-6.
I. DIVINE AUTHORITY AND ASSURANCE, 1-3.
In verse 1 we encounter the first message of the Prophet Zechariah dated 520 B.C. or about eighteen years after the Babylonian exiles have returned to Palestine. In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the Word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Ber-e-kiah, the son of Iddo saying,
The chronological sign post is the second year of Darius the Great dating this prophecy in 520 B.C. Before the exile to Babylon the prophets reckoned time by Judah’s own kings. Now a heathen monarch is used to establish a date. Zechariah, which means "God Remembers", was a priest as well as a prophet.
The eighth month was about a month after Haggai’s second prophecy in which Haggai had encouraged the people who were in danger of being disheartened because they did not have the resources to construct as great a temple as the past one. Zechariah will now give another view of the past which will prove it not so glorious after all.
Here also is revealed the foundation of Zechariah’s ministry. The Word of the Lord came to him. His authority was established by a divine call, a divine commission to be God’s mouthpiece. His instructions which he delivered to the remnant were received straight from God. The Word of the Lord was in him for he delivered his message in demonstration of the Spirit’s moving. An evidence of all God’s anointed prophets.
Verse 2 reminds the people that they are in this mess because of the past disobedience of their forefathers. The Lord was very angry with your fathers.
The language is very strong in the Hebrew, literally angry with anger, meaning vehement displeasure which was nearly abhorrence. That fact could not be denied. All they had to do was look with their eyes at the desolations of the land which had lost the latter rains (Jer. 5:24-25; 14:1-4, 22) and had been leveled by invading armies and recall their seventy years in captivity.
When they looked about Jerusalem even 18 years after their return, it was still mostly in ruins. Houses, sewage system, water system, the palace, government buildings, the walls, towers, gates, and the temple were all torn asunder. The land in its devastated condition bore tearful testimony to the fact that "The Lord was thoroughly angered at your fathers."
The evil self-seeking of their fathers brought the judgment of God down upon themselves. For God’s wrath against evil is a permanent unalterable fact established before the foundations of the earth. God’s holy and righteous character must always deal with sin.
Yes, Zechariah was the prophet of restoration. His message changed a generation of people. So let us also hear and heed the first and most important Word of the Lord for restoration. For upon this message all the following words of the Lord of Hosts, the whole foundation for restoration is based!
The desire of God is to bless, but He doesn’t bless disobedience (Deut. 30:2-9). The Lord’s desire was to bring them back from exile, to make them prosperous, numerous, circumcise of heart that they might love and serve Him with all their soul and strength.
Thanks be to God, there is a way of dealing with the things that do not go right in our lives. Verse 3 proclaims God’s wonderful way of dealing with our shortcomings, failures, and iniquities. Therefore say to them, "Thus says the Lord of Hosts, ’Return to Me,’ declares the Lord of Hosts, ’that I may return to you,’ says the Lord of Hosts.