Zechariah 1 … Him Who Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return

“Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the Lord of hosts, ’” (1:3).

Like Haggai, the prophetic ministry of Zechariah began in the second year of Darius.

In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo saying, (1:1).

In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, (Haggai 1:1).

And like Haggai, Zechariah brought a word of rebuke and encouragement to God’s people that they would continue in the work of restoring and rebuilding the temple.

From NIV Study Bible:

Zechariah’s prophetic ministry took place in the postexilic period, the time of the Jewish restoration from Babylonian captivity.

The occasion is the same as that of the book of Haggai…The chief purpose of Zechariah (and Haggai) was to rebuke the people of Judah and to encourage and motivate them to complete the rebuilding of the temple (Zec 4:8-10; Hag 1-2), though both prophets were clearly interested in spiritual renewal as well. In addition, the purpose of the eight night visions (1:7—6:8) is explained in (1:3,5-6): The Lord said that if Judah would return to him, he would return to them. Furthermore, his word would continue to be fulfilled.

The theology of Zechariah’s prophecy matches his name, which means “The Lord (Yahweh) remembers.” “The Lord” is the personal, covenant name of God and is a perpetual testimony to his faithfulness to his promises… He “remembers” his covenant promises and takes action to fulfill them. In the book of Zechariah God’s promised deliverance from Babylonian exile, including a restored kingdom community and a functioning temple (the earthly throne of the divine King), leads into even grander pictures of the salvation and restoration to come through the Messiah

The book as a whole also teaches the sovereignty of God in history, over people and nations—past, present and future.

God would send His prophet, Zechariah, whose very name would remind the returning exiles that He always remembers and keeps His covenant. But as these displaced exiles found themselves back in the Holy Land, surveying the temple in ruins and being subjected to the taunts of their enemies, they were surely left wondering if things would ever really be good for them again. After all, their fathers had justly earned their just punishment at the hands of Holy God. What would keep them from landing in the same boat?

“The Lord was very angry with your fathers, (1:2).

And yes, they needed to be rebuked and encouraged to walk in obedience and do the work they had come back to Jerusalem to do. But the temple was not the only thing that needed restoration and rebuilding.

And through eight visions in the night, Zechariah would be invited into God’s future, that he would declare the promises of Almighty God Who Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return.

Consider Him Who Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return

  • He Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return through His call to Return to Him.
    • “The Lord was very angry with your fathers.Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the Lord of hosts,'” (1:2-3).
  • He Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return through His invitation to repent and turn to Him.
    • “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds…”’ (1:4).
  • He Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return through His power to accomplish His Word.
    • “…But they did not listen or give heed to Me,” declares the Lord. “Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, overtake your fathers? Then they repented and said, ‘As the Lord of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so He has dealt with us,’”’” (1:4-6).
  • He Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return through His divinely revealed prophecies.
    • Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” And the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are,” (1:9).
  • He Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return through His gracious and comforting words.
    • Then the angel of the Lord said, “O Lord of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” 13 The Lord answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words, (1:12-13).
  • He Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return through His promised compassion and restoration.
    • Therefore thus says the Lord, “I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem,” (1:16).

How do we respond to Who Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return?

There is much that we may find confusing about the night visions of Zephaniah. But one thing is crystal clear. He is more concerned about Building Up His people, than He is with building a physical structure.

And the truth is, we too can find ourselves wondering, like the returning exiles, if things will ever be good again. And once again, we are reminded that if we fix our hope on this world, this will be as good as it gets. Not very encouraging.

Oh, may we hear Him call to our hearts today. If we have misplaced our hope, let us return to Him today, for He is faithful and He will Build Us Up in the Hope of His Return.

Let us be intentional to fix our thoughts on His lovingkindnesses, compassions and faithfulness; for in so doing, all we need for this life will be found in Him Who Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return.

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him,” (Lamentations 3:21-24).

And as we look to the incomparable glory that is coming, fixing our eyes on the eternal, and believing He will transform and conform us to His glory by the perfect exertion of His power, He will be faithful to Build Us Up in Hope and endurance until He Returns.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us, (Romans 8:18).

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal, (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself, (Philippians 3:20).

Oh, that we would live with a constant sense of expectation for that day when we will see the glory of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. And until that day, let us live each day fully trusting Him Who Builds Us Up in the Hope of His Return, knowing He has fully redeemed and purified us for Himself.

looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds, (Titus 2:13-14).

Lord, grow our faith we pray, to trust You to Build Us Up in the Hope of Your Return, that we may rest securely in all Your good plans for our future.

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope,  (Jeremiah 29:11).

Let’s Grow Together!

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