Scriptures

22. Zechariah, Quite A Character

Introduction

By Josh Haislip
‘…I am zealous…for Zion’. Zechariah 1:14

Zechariah and Haggai were sent by God to encourage Zerubbabel and others to continue to build the house of the Lord, Ezra 5:1-2 / Ezra 6:14-15. Zechariah’s name means ‘Whom Jehovah Remembers’ and he prophesied around 520-518 B.C. His book is the sequel to Haggai’s and is considered the most obscure of the Minor Prophets and possibly the most difficult in the Old Testament.

Zechariah is full of apocalyptic language with symbolic visions like Ezekiel and Daniel. Although Zechariah’s 14 chapters are considered to be some of the most difficult text to understand, we do gain insight into the man Zechariah and the ‘zeal for Zion’ that he had.

We also find many prophetic statements in Zechariah; some are more obvious as they are revealed in the New Testament. For example,

‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey’. Zechariah 9:9

Questions For Discussion

1. ‘I am zealous for Zion’, was a committed focus and theme for Zechariah as he was sent to encourage people to continue in the labour for the Lord.

Are you ‘zealous for Zion’? Are you fervent and passionate for the Lord’s work? Is it clear to others that you interact with that you are devoted to God and His church? Why/why not?

2. The Duke men’s basketball team had a standout athlete this past year named Zion Williamson.

If you were remotely plugged in to sports or TV last season, especially in March, then it would have been almost impossible not to have heard his name. As a matter of fact, Zion Williamson is likely to be the number one pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA draft. He has been idolized by many and has been the focus of many sports enthusiasts.

Why do you think our culture does this? Are you ‘zealous for Zion’? Are you more consumed in athletics, celebrities, media, etc., but neglect to invest your time in the body of Christ? Do your actions and message encourage (stir up) others to love and good works?

What needs to change?

Hebrews 10:24-25 ‘And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…’

Has your zeal grown cold and have you ‘neglected to meet together’, thereby not encouraging your brothers or sisters? What often stands in the way of meeting together?

While this book may continue to challenge us, its main purpose is evident, Zechariah was a prophet sent on a mission to encourage the people to complete the building of the temple, Ezra 6:14-15. This he did, through visions, teaching, and prophecies.

As Christians in the church today, we have come to the

‘…Mount Zion and to the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…’ Hebrews 12:22

Like Zechariah, we need to also be on a mission to further the work of the Lord and stir each other up in the building of the ‘temple’ (church) of the Lord today! How do you see your role in this?

3. Zechariah called others to repentance and then encouraged and motivated the people to continue the Lord’s work.

Does your message encourage others to turn to God? Are you a fork in the road that requires others to confront their salvation? If not, why not?

4. Midway through Zechariah, we see that the exiles had begun fasting by their own design. They had a self-imposed religion that Jesus and Paul later addressed in the New Testament, Matthew 15:8-9 / Colossians 2:20-23.

Have you seen or heard of a body of believers that self-imposed a requirement or ‘commandment’ that was not God-ordained?

What did you witness within that group? How did Jesus and Paul describe this type of practice in the verses above?

If we desire to truly be citizens in the ‘New Jerusalem’, then let’s concentrate on doing the will of the Father, in unity, in both truth and spirit!

5. The last six chapters of Zechariah have been described as some of the most difficult in the Bible to understand and find application. How do you approach hard-to-understand passages like this in the Bible?

We know that

‘all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work’, 2 Timothy 3:16-17

We must continue to be ‘zealous for Zion’ and be in God’s Word so that we can better discern His will and understand His character.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you that your Word highlights men like Zechariah. Thank you for your love for us and for your people throughout history. Please help us all to be ‘zealous for Zion’ like Zechariah and be devoted to the Lord’s work. God, please help us to encourage each other and stir up one another in love and good works as we continue to build your church and kingdom. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Matthew 11:28

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