2,4 You Gotta Change Your Ways,Zechariah 1,1-6
You Gotta Change Your Ways
In the opening chapters, at least, the same down-to-earth reality of rebuilding a temple that dominated Haggai’s book can be seen behind Zechariah’s visions. Like Haggai, he was a man with a practical mission, but more than Haggai he stressed the larger theological significance of the practical activities in which he was engaged. Zechariah and his contemporaries were engaged in the physical work of building, but what he could see, more than the others, was the significance of their physical activity on God’s larger spiritual plans for his people. The temple was a symbol of God’s presence among his people; the temple rebuilding, however, somehow symbolized, and perhaps even inaugurated in some mysterious fashion, God’s renewal of his chosen people beyond that immediate time and place.
The prophetic message, rather, has a kind of perpetual contemporaneity to it, for it addresses the issues that trouble mankind in every generation. Must evil always triumph over good? Is God really almighty? Will the world get better, or only worse? Will the Kingdom of God, of peace and of righteousness, ever be established in this sad world? It is questions such as these that are addressed in the Book of Zechariah. They are answered from the perspective of faith in God and hope in God’s future. But insofar as the book contains answers, they are addressed from faith and to faith.
Zechariah is addressing an audience of citizens in Jerusalem. They were probably civic leaders, some involved in the reconstruction project of the temple, and some citizens in general.
I. The Main Message-Vs2-4
Vs.2—“sore displeased”- The Lord was very angry concerning the fathers, and those who are now living need to repent. The nation had experienced anger of God at the destruction of the kingdom of Judah, Jerusalem and the temple.
“displeased”- a burning and consuming wrath. Indeed, the wrath of God speaks directly of God maintaining himself completely and absolutely as a holy God who loves his covenant people with an infinite passion and therefore is very jealous over them. When either people from without, or the covenant people themselves, profane, thwart or reject this love of the covenant God, God expresses his vexation, agitation, displeasure, anger and/or hatred: he pours out his wrath.
Vs3—The Lord says , Turn ye unto me”- we see that the sin of their forefathers was responsible for the desolation of the temple, but their own sins had resulted in the delay of rebuilding the temple.
God is calling them to repentance. In order for Him to bless them, to turn to them, He gave prerequisites.
--It was NOT simply to resume the building.
--NOT simply to turn to His law or to His ways.
--It was to RETURN to Him.
Their repentance two months before involved an incomplete commitment, resulting in a delay of building the temple. God was telling them to turn totally to Him. A complete return to the Lord would bring divine blessings.
“I will turn unto you”—I want that, don’t you. We must be sold out to Jesus.
Example- vs4- their forefathers rebelled and also refused to respond to the prophets preaching.
“ways & doings”—the road they were on and their deeds
They would not listen or pay attention.
Think with me about what we do at times like this. Maybe things have gone from bad to worse. We know what is going to happen if we don’t stop what we are doing.
We must remember who our God is. The children of Israel was in covenant with God. He had made a covenant with Abraham. For generation after generation, God would bless his seed.
The prophets had called the people back, urging to restore their relationship with God, and we see Zechariah firmly standing on prophetic tradition.
The main message for you and I today is to come back to God. Why you may ask?
II. The Marked Miracle–vs5-6
Vs5-“your fathers, where are they?”- “prophets, do they live forever?”-- the allusion here is that the things that had long passed away could have no force on the present generation.
God’s word which He spoke in the past will not be contradicted, but will outlast all disobedient ancestors and even the prophets who spoke the words.
VS6—God is telling them that His “words” ( speech) and his “statutes” (prescribed limits or boundaries, and that was to punish for sin) which He “commanded” (gave orders of).
“Prophet”- the prophet was a spokesman, one who proclaimed the message of deity, and the prophet was a “servant” of God, subject to God himself.
“take hold” (overtake, to catch up, reach—the thought here could be as one being hunted down)
“they returned”- they came to their senses and recognized that they deserved punishment from God. It was too late to prevent the ruin of their nation. It could be that they truly did repent during the time of exile.
“thought”—God had decided, determined a course of action.
“according to our ways( our practices, here noted as being wicked)…doings, so hath he dealt with us”- God is faithful. His truth and justice go hand in hand.
III. Man’s Movement-
If we are not in line with God’s Word and His will, we are wrong, not God. He will deal with us according to His ways and plans, not ours.
Has our repentance been real? Are we where we need to be with God?
You Gotta Change Your Ways
I. The Main Message
II. The Marked Miracle–
III. Man’s Movement-