TURN BACK TO GOD!
I praise you, God of the old and the new. I praise you for yesterday and today, I open myself to your fresh grace.
Read Zechariah 1
A Call to Return to the Lord
1 In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo:
2 “The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. 4 Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. 5 Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?
“Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’”
The Man Among the Myrtle Trees
7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo.
8 During the night I had a vision, and there before me was a man mounted on a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, brown and white horses.
9 I asked, “What are these, my lord?”
The angel who was talking with me answered, “I will show you what they are.”
10 Then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained, “They are the ones the Lord has sent to go throughout the earth.”
11 And they reported to the angel of the Lord who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at rest and in peace.”
12 Then the angel of the Lord said, “Lord Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years?” 13 So the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.
14 Then the angel who was speaking to me said, “Proclaim this word: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, 15 and I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they went too far with the punishment.’
16 “Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the Lord Almighty.
17 “Proclaim further: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.’”
Four Horns and Four Craftsmen
18 Then I looked up, and there before me were four horns. 19 I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these?”
He answered me, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.”
20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 I asked, “What are these coming to do?”
He answered, “These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one could raise their head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people.”[a]
- Zechariah 1:21 In Hebrew texts 1:18-21 is numbered 2:1-4.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIf God wanted to motivate you to turn to him, how would he be able to get your attention?
Zechariah’s book may feel like a collection of complex visions, but the introduction is crystal clear. God wanted his people to return to him. They had disobeyed, but now the call was to return (vs 1–6).
Several months after building of the Temple resumed, Zechariah had eight visions in one night. The first one (vs 7–17) sets the tone for all that follow: the Lord is present and active. An angel helps him make sense of the vision, but the focus is on ‘the angel of the Lord’ standing in the midst of myrtle trees in a ravine (v 8). Some have suggested that this significant angel, who receives reports from others about the state of the world (v 11), may well have been the second person of the Trinity.* The nations were at rest, but God’s perspective was different. He was angry with the nations. He was aware of the situation in Israel, and he had plans to come back to them, to rebuild the Temple, and to bless his own people.
The second vision speaks of four horns: four nations that had scattered God’s people Israel (v 19). The four craftsmen come to destroy the damaging work of these nations (v 21). The reminder for us is that God is in charge of history.
We have a God who knows what is going on and who cares about our relationship with him. Thank God for that!
Lord, my heart rejoices today for your forgiveness, and for those kind and comforting words that follow my repentance.
* Barry G Webb, The Message of Zechariah, IVP, 2003
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