Zechariah – Chapter 8

Restoration

Verse 1 – Again the word of the LORD of hosts came saying,

Verse 2 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; with great fervor I am zealous for her.’

Verse 3 – “Thus says the LORD:” ‘I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth. The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain.’

Verse 4 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age.

So tranquil and prosperous, without wars, they shall no longer prematurely cut off the people; men and women shall live to advanced ages. The promise of a long life is one of the greatest blessings in the Jewish theocracy with its temporal rewards of obedience.

Verse 5 – The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets.

Verse 6 – “Thus says  the LORD of host: ‘If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, will it also be marvelous in My eyes?’ says the LORD of hosts.

The people had a hard time trying to imagine what God was saying because of the devastation they saw when they returned from exile. A great source of “unbelief” is trying to limit God.

Verse 7 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west;

Verse 8 – I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.”

“They will be My people and I will be their God,” indicates full restoration of the covenant relationship.

Verse 9 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Let your hands be strong, you have been hearing in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who were in the day that the foundation was laid for the house of the LORD of hosts, that the temple might be built.

The prophets had been trying to encourage the people to get back to work on the temple, but now God had spoken to encourage them more.

Verse 10 – For before these days there were no wages for man nor any hire for beast; there was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came in; for I set all men, everyone against his neighbor.

Verse 11 – ‘But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the LORD of hosts.

Verse 12 – ‘For the seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give its fruit, the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew. I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.

Everything the people could hope for was addressed in this sermon by Zechariah. This experience would be the exact opposite of what they had experienced the last 20 years.

Verse 13 – And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, let your hands be strong.’

Verse 14 – “For thus says the LORD of hosts; ‘Just as I determined to punish you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘And I would not relent,

Verse 15 – so again in these days I am determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear.

For more than 15 years now, God and His prophets had been urging the people to finish building the temple. No matter how difficult the struggle might be to finish the task at hand, the reward far out-weighs the hardships we go through. God says the latter will be better than the former.

Verse 16 – These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;

Verse 17 – Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; and do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,” says the LORD.”

The terms of the covenant made it clear that people determined their own destiny, while God responds accordingly. Their justice system, from the priests on down, had grown so perverse before their exile, that God didn’t want them to go back to their old ways.

Verse 18 – The word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’

Verse 20 – The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also.”

Verse 22 – Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.’

Verse 23 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” ‘ ”

In the ancient Near East, grabbing the hem of a garment was an act of submission and supplication. Since the Israelites had spent years under foreign dominion, to have Gentiles show submission to them would be an  astonishing reversal.

 

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