Sunday, December 22, 2019

Zechariah 14

Today's reading in our daily plan is Zechariah 14. 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?)
  • Believers are encouraged to watch for the "day of the Lord" (verse 1) throughout the Bible. It refers to when God will end life on earth as we know it and then usher in a new era. As the imagery in this chapter makes clear, this "end time" will not be good and, at this time, people will finally be judged and punished for their sins. However, God will show up, fight for and save people who have put their faith in and worshipped him. In the end, God will triumph and his people will win the victory with him.
  • In this chapter, Jerusalem is lifted up as the city of God and center of worship of him. This is probably symbolic as it wouldn't make sense to think that all believers will literally go to Jerusalem to worship God. (That would make for one crowded city!)
  • In the Old Testament times, God's people would celebrate a variety of festivals. In verse 16, we see God's people celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. It makes sense that this celebration would continue into eternity because if was a festival of thanksgiving. The other festivals from the Old Testament times (such as The Passover) were fulfilled by Jesus (The Passover was fulfilled in his death) and so no longer need to be celebrated.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The day of the Lord is coming. Jesus is going to return to end life as we know it. On that day, those who were faithful to God will be brought to live with him forever in eternity. Those who were not will be found guilty of their sins and will face eternity without God because they chose not to be in relationship with him in this life. That day is coming.
    • Why hasn't it come already? We are told in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
    • When is he going to come? We don't know. Jesus said, in Matthew 24:42, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." We don't know, so we need to be ready all the time! Jesus continued, "But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him" (Matthew 24:43-44).
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Are you ready? What if Jesus returned right .... now? (It would have been so cool if Jesus returned right when you read that word!) If Jesus returned now, would you be ready?
  • Have you put your faith in him as the only one who can save you from your sins? That is the only way you can escape being judged and punished for your sins. Jesus loves you, died for you, and is inviting you to take his death as the substitute for you. If you haven't said yes, why don't you do that right now?
  • If you have said yes and consider yourself a Christian: Is there anything in your life that you would be embarrassed by if Jesus returned and you were doing it? What if Jesus returned right when you were ... gossiping about a co-worker, or ... yelling at your spouse, or .... looking at porn? What if Jesus returned and you ... realized you had not been obeying the main thing he asked you to do, which is to help your friends know Jesus, or ... that God had asked you in the Bible (more than anything else) to be generous in giving money back to him, and you had never done it, or ... you had spent so little time praying you didn't really feel close to God at all? Make a decision, and ask God to help you to live ready. To live every day like it could be the day because, well, every day could be the day.
Here's a helpful video from a great resource called BibleProject that reviews and summarizes the book of Zechariah: