Bible Reading: Zechariah 1:1-17
“I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little they furthered the disaster” (Zechariah 1:14-15)
The book of Zechariah is set around twenty years after God’s people returned from Babylonian exile. Many had anticipated there to be great reform and restoration once they returned. They waited for God to restore their land by a saviour as many of the past prophets had prophesied. Yet, after twenty years, the temple of God lay unfinished, taxes to the Persian king were high, and their city was looking very primitive in general. Morally, no huge transformation had occurred. Externally, the Jewish nation had not been restored to have its own kings and free rule either. God promised restoration, yet Jerusalem was still in ruins. Was God still faithful to His people? Or had He abandoned them in His wrath?
Many of the people were discouraged at that time. If God were not faithful, then their obedience would be useless. So many turned to just trying to enjoy life with any kind of pleasure they could find just to cope with the difficulties. How often do we think God has stopped working in our lives? How often are we discouraged because we think that God’s promises have not come true?
A prophet named Zechariah shares a vision. In the night, Zechariah sees a man riding a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees, and behind him, there were more red, sorrel and white horses. “What are these, my lord?” Zechariah asks. An angel replies, “I will show you. These are the LORD’s patrol whom he has sent to patrol the earth”. The man and the horses answer, “We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth remains at rest”. With grief and anxiety, the angel cried out, “O LORD of hosts, how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which you have been angry these seventy years?” But the LORD answered gracious and comforting words to the angel.
What was going on here? After observing the whole world, God’s patrol says that all the nations are at peace. However, the Jews knew something different. There was no peace or prosperity in their land. They were God’s chosen nation, yet it seemed like God had abandoned them. The angel knew this also. Has God abandoned His people?
Yet these were the words of God, “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little they furthered the disaster.” God cares deeply for His people, and His anger is actually upon all the nations who rebel against Him and further disaster in His world. God goes on to say, “I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy, my house shall be built in it and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.”
Even though the Jews had rebelled against God and furthered disaster, God chose to love them. He promises again that they have received mercy and that He will restore their land and dwell amongst them once more. God promises that the blessings will stretch out past Jerusalem, and He will again comfort His people.
What a promise for God’s people. Despite whatever might be going through our lives, God is faithful to us, His people. All of God’s promises lead to Christ, who is the one who comes to dwell with mankind and fix their greatest problem, sin against a Holy God. In Christ, there is overflowing prosperity because all the spiritual blessings have been given to us. We are made right with God and can have a relationship with Him. There is no condemnation for us. Even though the world may seem to be at rest or peace and our lives in great turmoil, God is for us, and His love is for His people. Trust in Him!
Lord, thank You for who You are. You love Your people, and You are faithful to Your people even when we are unfaithful to You. Please forgive us when we are downcast because of our circumstances. Help us to see the glory of Your grace and lift our view heavenward to see the reality as You see it. You have given us the greatest blessing in Christ. Help us each day to grow to know Christ even more. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.