Sunday, December 1, 2019

Zechariah 8

Today's reading in our daily plan is Zechariah 8. 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?)
  • For more than 15 years, God had been urging the people to get back to the work of rebuilding the temple, but they had not. In verses 3-5 and 13-15, God gives them a vision of the future to encourage them to get to the work they needed to do.
  • The idea when it says, "It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people" (verse 6) because things were so bad at that time it was hard for the people to believe something better was coming. But with God, all things are possible.
  • In verses 16-17 God gives some clear instruction on how he wants his people to live: Speak truth, be just, do not try to hurt people, do not lie.
  • Fasting (mentioned in verse 19) is when people go without food for an extended amount of time so they can spend more time focusing on God and praying. If you are interested in learning more about fasting you can read this short article and this one.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • In verse 2, God speaks of his "jealousy" for his people. In verse 17, God tells us some things he "hates". We generally think of jealousy and hate as negative emotions to be avoided, so why is God jealous and why does he hate? 
    • The reason jealousy is generally bad is because we are jealous for something someone else has that we want. But if a husband discovered his wife had feelings for another man, or was flirting with someone at work, we would not think his jealous feelings were wrong. He is jealous because his wife is his', she has promised her love only to him. In the same way, we are God's. We were made to do life in a relationship with him. Our hearts should belong to him. That's why he is jealous for us.
    • The reason hate is bad is because it is selfish. We hate someone because they have hurt us. God's hatred is not selfish. He hates things that hurt us. Think of a parent who hates their toddler playing near a road with lots of fast-driving cars, or hates for  their child to reach up towards a hot stove. The parent's hate is driven by love. The same is true of God.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • God is jealous for you. Isn't that amazing? He loves you and wants your love. He doesn't need your love. If he did, it wouldn't be so cool that he wants it. He doesn't need your love, he wants your love. A God who loves you that much is pretty easy to love. Is there some way you're holding your heart back from him? What would it look like for you to love him more?
  • What are you currently doing that God hates? What thought pattern or behavior are you engaging in that, because he loves you, God wants you to stop? Get real with God, confessing to him, and asking for his help to put it behind you.