5th October 2016
The book of Zechariah was written during the efforts of the Jewish people to rebuild the Temple which had been destroyed by the Babylonians. For 70 years they had been living in captivity because of their own disobedience against the Lord. God used Babylon as His agent of judgment against Israel for their sins of idolatry and rebellion against Him. With each successive rebellion against Babylonian rule, Nebuchadnezzar would lead his armies against Judah until they laid siege to Jerusalem (586BC) for over a year, killing many people and destroying the Jewish temple, taking captive many thousands of Jews, and leaving Jerusalem in ruins. In God’s appointed time, the Persian King Cyrus freed the Jewish captives from the Babylonians to resettle back in their homeland particularly for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Zechariah reminded the people, still downtrodden by the Gentile powers (Zec 1:8–12), with the reality that the Lord remembers His covenant promises to them and that He would return to Jerusalem with mercy.
As we read Zechariah Chapter 8, we begin to see the portrait of a passionate God.
1. He is passionate for His glory (8:1-6)
The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of God’s manifold perfections. – His character, his attributes, his holiness, his power etc. – the weightiness of who He is.
He will not stand for anyone else to have the affections, gratitude and praise that is due to Him alone. He will be loved and treasured for who He is and He will receive all the honour and gladness for being their all in all.
The jealousy of God described in (8:2) is vitally connected to the expression of that zeal for His glory and love for His people, in His wrath. The glory of the Lord departed from the temple before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians (Ezk 10:18-19)
What we first see in Zec 8 is God’s passion for His glory to be restored through the rebuilding of His temple and the restoration of His people in Jerusalem. For a long time the temple lied in desolation and rebuilding of it was taking a long time because the remnants were discouraged, disillusioned and indifferent. The ruins before them may have caused them to doubt if this miracle could really take place. But nothing was and is impossible for the Sovereign God carry out. Now His glory will return and Jerusalem and the temple will be His dwelling place again (8:3) Jerusalem will become known as the faithful city and the Holy Mountain. When the Lord returns, peace will come to the city and once again it will be teeming with life.
2. He is passionate for His people (8:7-17)
He says in vs 7 & 8 that He will save His people from their enemies and bring them back to live in Jerusalem. He proclaims that they will be His people and that He will be their faithful God. From being cursed they will now become a blessing to others. The state of bareness and dryness will not prevail. Heaven will water their land and there will be much fruitfulness. God is determined to do good to them because they are His treasured possession (Deut 7:6). God will also turn their grief into joy (vs 18 & 19). He once again wants nations around to see the unique relationship between Him and His people.
3. He is passionate for those outside His sheep pen (8:20-23).
The Jewish people were supposed to be a signpost and a conduit drawing the nations surrounding them towards God. They were meant to be a visual representation of a vibrant relationship between God and His people. Gen 12:2 & 3 speaks of the Abrahamic covenant which proclaims that Abraham and His descendants will be blessed and through them the nations will be blessed. However, the sad situation was that the Jewish people did not fulfil this responsibility. Because of their rebellion and idolatry they were actually like a fallen signpost and blocked conduits. Here in Zec 8, once again God says that He will reposition them to be visible signposts and unblocked conduits so that people outside His fold are drawn towards Him (Jn 10:16 ). His ultimate passion for all mankind is demonstrated through the sending of His son Jesus to die for our sins.
Take time to reflect
- 1 Cor 3:16 – We are God’s temple and God’s spirit dwells in us. What is the condition of your “temple”?
- Ps 69:9 – King David expressed “for the zeal for your house consumes me”. Is the zeal for this house consuming you? Would you begin to pray for our church and commit to the growth and strengthening of CPBC. God has got much more He wants to pour into our church so that we too will be tremendously blessed and in turn be a blessing to others.
- What is robbing you of the joy of the Lord in your life?
- Are we a clear sign post directing people to Christ through the way we live our lives and our proclamation of the gospel? Are we unblocked conduits through which God’s love and the ministry of the Holy Spirit is reaching and touching other lives? It’s time to be intentional!