For an introduction to this series, click here.
Nov. 27, 2006
It's good to be back. I've been home with my folks for a few days, which is always good, but also means no internet, which is both good and bad. It's nice to unplug for a while, but it's also good to get plugged back in. It probably wouldn't have mattered much anyway, because I was so sick this weekend I couldn't have thought straight enough to put my thoughts together.
In Chapter 6 Zechariah has one more vision. It is of four chariots. Two of them go north, one goes south, and the last one patrols the whole earth. I don't pretend to have any idea what this means. I'm looking forward to the New Testament, where I am more comfortable. I'm sure someone does, but I have not done enough study and the meaning is not obvious to me. The rest of the chapter is about a special ceremony God told Zechariah to perform upon Joshua the high priest. This was a very important time for the Jewish nation. Everything they knew was destroyed. But God was not through with them, and they were to continue serve Him.
Chapters 7-8 is a very interesting conversation. The people who had resettled at Bethel came to Jerusalem to ask if they should continue to fast in the fifth month, as they had throughout the captivity. Zechariah's response gives us all something to think about:
"When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?" (7:6-7)
God was saying that things done to make ourselves feel good and impress others are worthless to God. They were going through rituals that made themselves feel spiritual, but the rest of their lives they forgot about God. A lot of times I wonder how much of what we do in our churches is a lot of the same. Fasting was not a bad thing, but apparently it was done for the wrong reasons, not to pray and bring honor to God. God gives them an alternative that is more pleasing to Him:
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against one another in your heart." (7:9-10)
God is more concerned about our love for each other than He is about our outward show of service. God says it is better to enjoy His gifts and share them with others:
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace." (8:19)
Chapter 9 is a pronouncement of judgment on Israel's enemies and a prediction of the future glory of Jerusalem and Israel. There is also a prophecy of the coming of Christ:"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (9:9 ESV)