Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Zechariah-What We Should Celebrate

By Mary Vee
Zechariah 7

From Zechariah's Journal

Photo Courtesy

My name is Zechariah. I am a prophet, which means God trusts me to give His message to His people.

Four years have passed since we have returned to the city of Jerusalem.

Life hasn't turned out the way I had expected. What had I hoped for? Well, that the rebuilding had been underway and the people excited to restore the city. 

I wasn't with the first group that returned to our homes after 70 years of captivity in Babylon. I wasn't even born in Jerusalem. The prophet Haggai took me under his wings and taught me what the Lord wanted. He was like a father to me.

The temple rebuilding had moved at a snail's pace. The walls around the city haven't been started. In truth, the city and surrounding land looked about as bad as it did when we first returned. Four years of missed opportunity. This is sad.

In the ninth month and fourth day of this year, I received a message from the Lord. Days before some people from Bethel sent Sharezer and Regem-Melech and some guards with a request for the Lord. They wanted to know if they should fast in the fifth month as they had done for many years. This fasting was a form of celebration, a memorial.

This is the message God gave me to tell them. "Ask all the people of the land and the priests, 'When you fasted in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, did you really do it for me? 

"And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? Didn't I tell you then through the earlier prophets, you remember, when Jerusalem and all the land around the city had prosperity? Remember at that same time the Negev and the western foothills were settled?"

God then gave me a second message for the people. "This is what the Lord Almighty says we should celebrate and remember: "Show true justice. Show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not hurt the widow or the orphans, the foreigner or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.

"Sadly," the Lord said, "Your fathers before didn't pay attention to me. They stubbornly turned their backs and stopped listening to the words or laws that I, the Lord Almighty had sent by My Spirit to the earlier prophets. So I, the Lord Almighty, was very angry.

"When I called, they didn't listen, so when they called to Me, I would not listen. I scattered them with a whirlwind to nations far away where they would be strangers. Jerusalem, your home was left desolate as it is today."

The Lord's message will continue next time.

sources: Matthew Henry's Commentary volume 4, Hendrickson Publishers. 2000,  

1.  What is a prophet trusted to do?
2.  What did the people ask God through Zechariah?
3.  In God's answer was he happy with what they had done every fifth month for the last seventy years? Why or why not?
4.  What did the Lord ask the people to do?
5.  What had their fathers from long ago failed to do?

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