Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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ENTERED: September 03, 2015
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Scripture Passage



        Zechariah - Chapter 01 (Contemporary English Version)
      1. I am the prophet Zechariah, the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo. In the eighth month of the second year that Darius was king of Persia, the LORD told me to say:
      2. Israel, I, the LORD All-Powerful, was very angry with your ancestors. But if you people will return to me, I will turn and help you.
      3. (SEE 1:2)
      4. Don't be stubborn like your ancestors. They were warned by the earlier prophets to give up their evil and turn back to me, but they paid no attention.
      5. Where are your ancestors now? Not even prophets live forever.
      6. But my warnings and my words spoken by the prophets caught up with your ancestors. So they turned back to me and said, "LORD All-Powerful, you have punished us for our sins, just as you had planned."
      7. On the twenty-fourth day of Shebat, which was the eleventh month of that same year, the LORD spoke to me in a vision during the night: In a valley among myrtle trees, I saw someone on a red horse, with riders on red, brown, and white horses behind him.
      8. (SEE 1:7)
      9. An angel was there to explain things to me, and I asked, "Sir, who are these riders?" "I'll tell you," the angel answered.
      10. Right away, the man standing among the myrtle trees said, "These are the ones the LORD has sent to find out what's happening on earth."
      11. Then the riders spoke to the LORD's angel, who was standing among the myrtle trees, and they said, "We have gone everywhere and have discovered that the whole world is at peace."
      12. At this, the angel said, "LORD All-Powerful, for seventy years you have been angry with Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. When are you ever going to have mercy on them?"
      13. The LORD's answer was kind and comforting.
      14. So the angel told me to announce: I, the LORD All-Powerful, am very protective of Jerusalem.
      15. For a while I was angry at the nations, but now I am furious, because they have made things worse for Jerusalem and are not the least bit concerned.
      16. And so, I will have pity on Jerusalem. The city will be completely rebuilt, and my temple will stand again.
      17. I also promise that my towns will prosper--Jerusalem will once again be my chosen city, and I will comfort the people of Zion.
      18. Next, I saw four animal horns.
      19. The angel who was sent to explain was there, and so I asked, "What do these mean?" His answer was, "These horns are the nations that scattered the people of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem, and took away their freedom." Then the LORD showed me four blacksmiths, and I asked, "What are they going to do?" He replied, "They are going to terrify and crush those horns."
      20. (SEE 1:19)
      21. (SEE 1:19)

Reflections



Zechariah - Chapter 01

Entered: September 03, 2015

Zechariah came on the scene in 520 b.c., nearly twenty years after Israel began returning to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon. Soon after the return had begun, rebuilding of the temple began, but the people had become discouraged and construction stopped for 16 years. Two months before Zechariah began his ministry, God raised up the prophet Haggai to encourage the people to renew their efforts to rebuild the temple. Coming on the heels of Haggai's ministry, Zechariah's task was to first motivate spiritual renewal which he approached by revealing to them God's plans for Israel's future. Through spiritual renewal he then led the people to renew their efforts to rebuild the temple.

Though Zechariah used God's plans for Israel's future as motivation for their spiritual renewal, he began, in these first verses of his book, by pointing out the futility of continuing in the ways of their ancestors. Their ancestors had not listened to the prophets and where were they now? The words of the Lord delivered by His prophets overtook them and their refusal to repent and return to the Lord led to the destruction of Jerusalem and their exile in Babylon.

Zechariah's first of eight visions was told, beginning in verse 7. In the vision Zechariah saw a man on a red horse standing in the myrtle trees. Other horses, presumably also with riders, stood with him. The man on the red horse reported to an angel that they had patrolled the earth and found only "calm and quiet." The earth was at peace and the inference was that Israel could be at ease concerning her safety.

The angel then conveyed the Lord's words to Zechariah. The Lord had been a little angry with Israel but the nations had made his intended punishment worse for Israel. But the Lord had now "graciously returned to Jerusalem," and "My house will be rebuilt within it." Furthermore, the Lord said, "My cities will again overflow with prosperity." The Lord was giving hope to Israel concerning her future. The temple would be rebuilt and the nation would prosper.

In quick succession Zechariah had a second vision. In it he saw four horns and four craftsmen. The horns represented the nations that had scattered Judah and Israel and the craftsmen represented the forces that would deal with these nations. The craftsmen would terrify and cut off the horns of those nations.



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