Sunday, November 11, 2012

Zechariah 1& 2 - Visions

LINK: Zechariah 1 & 2

If you have not already done so, please read the "Introduction to the Prophetical Books." 

BACKGROUND


Book of Zechariah


If you are reading along with us in the Bible Book Club, you know that Zechariah prophesied during the rebuilding of the temple. If you are reading in another way, see the post for Ezra 4 HERE.


Here is a review of where Zechariah fits in historically:
Ezra 4:1-5 (Cyrus, 559-530) (Reigns of Cambyses [530-522] and Smerdis [522])Haggai (Darius I, 521-486)Zechariah 1:1-8:23 (520-518)Ezra 4:24-6:22Zechariah 9:1-14:21 (480-470)Esther (Xerxes/Ahasuerus, 485-465)Ezra 4:6-23 (Xerxes/Ahasuerus - Artaxerxes, 464-424)Ezra 7:1-10:44 (Artaxerxes) 

He started preaching two months after Haggai started preaching, and they overlapped for about two months. So, for a time, the people were getting God's encouragement in stereo! :)

Zechariah 1-8 was written while the temple was being rebuilt.

Zechariah 9-14 was written after the rebuilding of the temple.

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption


In that time period, Zechariah gave consoling sermons for the workers engaged in rebuilding God's most holy structure, the temple. He also gives us colorful visions of a glorious future for God's people. It is the most Messianic (and longest) of all of the Minor Prophets. He tells of God's future deliverance through the Messiah (Zechariah 9:9-10). 


Zechariah 1-6 are visions

Zechariah 7-8 are sermons
Zechariah 9-14 are promises

Haggai was old when he prophesied, Zechariah was young. Haggai exhorted while Zechariah encouraged. Haggai preached in the form of messages, and Zechariah shared eight visions; five of comfort and three of condemnation. 


Zechariah 1 & 2

Zechariah starts with a call to repentance for God's people. God's message was clear and simple: "Return to Me, and I will return to you." 


In these chapters Zechariah shares the first three of eight visions:


Man among the myrtles (1:7-17) - Wicked nations may seem like they prosper but God will bring judgment upon the nations who have oppressed Judah.


Four Horns and Four Craftsman (1:18-21) - The horns were the four world powers that oppressed Israel (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Medo-Persia). The four craftsmen were the nations used to overthrow them. 


Man with the measuring line (Zechariah 2) - Jerusalem would be rebuilt and the people would be restored. Zechariah 2:9-12 is a promise of the Messiah who will live among them and a promise that Gentile nations will come to know Him (John 1:14; Revelation 21:3 and do not forget the promise in Genesis 12:3!)


REFLECTION


I was just talking with my friend, Kim, this morning about her husband's devotional with their kids yesterday during a camping trip. Then, I read this while composing this post:

How would you evaluate your father's contribution to your spiritual life? (a) negligible; (b) sizable; (c) enormous.  
Four times in his opening verses, Zechariah mentions the sorry state of Judah's fathers or ancestors (1:2, 4-6) who, by ignoring God and pursuing evil, brought divine judgment upon themselves and their children. 
Fathers, yours is an awesome assignment: to assist your children in becoming men and women of God. And the painful testimony of Scripture is this: children seldom rise to a higher spiritual plane than that of their parents. Read the first six verses of Zechariah as if it were a manual titled How to Succeed as a Father because that is just what those verses will help you do. 
(The Daily Walk, September 23, 2008, p. 29)
APPLICATION 

I relay this reflection knowing that this is a touchy subject for some of you because your dad's contribution to your spiritual life may have been negligible.


Take heart! Even though my dad was a great dad, he had no part in my spiritual development because he was not a believer until a few years before he died (I had the great privilege of praying with him to welcome Christ into his heart and life, but that is another story.). If this is the case for you, God is your heavenly Father who wants to nurture you in your growth.


If your dad was not great and did not invest spiritually, there may be some healing that needs to take place in your life to help you toward a true view of your heavenly Father. I am praying for this to happen for you!


If you are a father, take these verses in Zechariah to heart and make a plan!


If you are a wife, do not nag your husband into submission, but pray that he will become the spiritual leader that God has made him to be!


If you are single or do not have children, you can have many spiritual children! Start investing spiritually in someone today! 



PRAYER

Lord, teach us to invest in the future generation. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. 
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