Summary: The first call of prophet Zechariah was a call not to repeat the mistake of their forefathers and return to God while they still can. Now that they have returned to their homeland, they are to stay faithful to God.
Zechariah is not an easy book to read and understand, but we will try and learn together over these few months. God has important words for His people.
• It’s difficult because God speaks not only to the present situation in Judah (with the people now engaging in rebuilding the Temple) but also to show them that He has a glorious future planned, for this place, through Israel.
Let me give a big picture view of the book. It falls into TWO main parts.
• The first part (chap 1-8) is specifically dated; the second part (chap 9-14) is not.
• After the introduction (1:1-6), chapters 1-6 consist of 8 night visions that came to Zechariah in one night.
• God addresses the needs of the people as they work on the Temple. They are not alone. God is with them and will help them accomplish His purpose of rebuilding it.
• God will restore what has been lost.
In chapters 7 and 8, dated two years later, Zechariah was addressing a delegation of priests that came from Bethel, talking about the subject on religious fasting.
• The thrust of the message is that God is concerned about the hearts of the people and not just the outward religious observance.
• It serves as a warning to the people not to fall back into an outward form of religion when the Temple is completed. God is looking at their hearts.
Chapters 9-14 are not dated and probably were written many years later.
• This section consists of a number of prophecies regarding the Messiah, the coming of Christ.
• It helps the people see beyond their present problems to the great future God has planned.
• It sets the perspective to what they are doing. The seemingly inconsequential task has great significance! The Messiah will come.
No matter what takes place before then – the rise and fall of nations and empires – God’s plan is intact and His promises are sure.
• They will be fulfilled. And for us, we saw them being fulfilled when Christ came.
• We call these prophecies, messianic prophecies, because they point to the Messiah.
• The book of Zechariah is second only to Isaiah in the number of references made regarding the Messiah.
Why give them prophecies, when they are fulfilled only after their lifetime?
• To encourage the discouraged remnant that God’s plan has not be derailed, despite their sin and apostasy. Their failure will not nullify God’s plan.
• God’s covenantal promises remain true. God keeps His covenant.
• His Kingdom will come and Jesus Christ, the Messiah will rule.
It is a message not just for them but for us, especially when we are discouraged by what is happening around the world today, when evil and chaos seem to thrive.
• God still reigns and He is orchestrating situations toward the fulfilment of His plan and purposes.
Let’s read Zech 1:1-6. “Return to me,” the Lord says, “and I will return to you.”
• This is setting the foundation right, their relationship with God.
Clearly dated – the Word of God came in the 8th month of the 2nd year of Darius’ reign.
• Right after Haggai gave his two messages. Right at the restart of the rebuilding.
Remember their hardships? They had returned from a long exile, attempted to rebuild the Temple but was forced to stop by the hostile enemies opposing them (Ezra 4:1-5).
• They ignored it completely and went on to build their own houses and lives. Without God, they suffered crop failures and drought and little harvest (Haggai 1:10-11)
• They had indeed come home (to Judah) but home to what? A life of poverty and an uncertain future.
Under such circumstances, if the people were misguided, they might have thought that God was still angry with them or that they were left to fend for themselves.
• God spoke through Haggai and Zechariah set their perspective right.
• God did not abandon them. God will help them rebuild the Temple and the walls of Jerusalem.
• Specifically through Zechariah, God promises them success to the present task and the glory for the future of this place. You have present success and a future glory.
First things first. Don’t repeat the mistake of the past. Learn the lesson of the past.
• God did not abandon Israel. Israel abandoned God when their forefathers sinned against Him and rejected God.
• Zechariah’s very first line was: “The Lord was very angry with your forefathers.”
This would seems at first to be an odd start if you want to encourage the people, by telling them that God was angry with sinners.
• But that’s the right start, right? The basis of a good life comes from heeding God’s warnings and doing life God’s way.