Saturday, November 30, 2019

Zechariah 6 & 7

Today's reading in our daily plan is Zechariah 6 & 7. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • The four chariots in chapter 6 represent four angels of God's judgment.
  • 6:9-15 are a vision (or a prophecy) about the coming Messiah (who turned out to be Jesus) (the book of Zechariah was written over 500 years before Jesus came to earth). In Zechariah's day there was a king and there was a high priest. In these verses he speaks of someone who would be king ("rule on his throne" in vs 13) AND be a "priest on his throne" (vs 13). No one could serve in both roles, so this would have mystified the people who originally read these words, but Zechariah was looking forward to the unique role Jesus would play.
  • The "fourth year of King Darius" (7:1) was 518 B.C. For the previous 70 years, the Israelites had been holding a fast in August to remember the destruction of God's temple in Jerusalem. In this chapter we learn that, though they fasted, they had lost a sincere desire for a relationship with God and to truly worship him.
  • God tells his people (7:8-9) to "administer true justice" (to be fair and have integrity in dealing with others) and to show mercy and compassion to others, especially to those who may struggle to fend for themselves, such as widows, the fatherless, people from other countries, and the poor.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We don't like to think of God's judgment against sin (especially if might be directed at us for our sin) but God is angry at sin. All sin will be judged and punished. Either people will be judged and punished for their sin, or if they put their faith in Him, Jesus will be judged and punished for their sin.
  • God's love for us is unconditional (he loves you no matter what) but many of his promises are conditional (he will do something for you if you meet the conditions he has set). We see an example in 6:15, where God makes a promise then says, "This will happen if you diligently obey the LORD your God." Often, Christians expect God to keep promises he has made, even though they have not met the conditions he set and therefore have not chosen to become recipients of the promise.
  • What God wants from us is sincere love and worship towards him, and justice and mercy towards others.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Is it possible you expect God to keep promises he has made even though you have not met the conditions to receive them? For instance, God promises to save you from your sin if you put your faith in Jesus and repent. God promises to generously bless your finances if you give generously back to him (telling us that generosity starts at 10%) (Malachi 3:8-11; Proverbs 3:9-10). God promises to direct our steps (guide us) if we trust and acknowledge him in all our ways (see Proverbs 3:5-6). God promises to give us the desires of our heart if we delight ourselves in him (see Psalm 37:4). If you haven't met the condition, there is no reason to expect God to bless you as he's promised.
  • When you pray, sing songs at church, take communion, etc., is your worship sincere, or (like the Israelites in Zechariah's day) are you just going through the motions? Pray and ask God to give you a true, heartfelt passion or him.