September 19, Zechariah 1-4

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In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo: “The Lord was extremely angry with your ancestors. So tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord of Armies says: Return to me—this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies—and I will return to you, says the Lord of Armies. Do not be like your ancestors; the earlier prophets proclaimed to them: This is what the Lord of Armies says: Turn from your evil ways and your evil deeds. But they did not listen or pay attention to me—this is the Lord’s declaration. Where are your ancestors now? And do the prophets live forever? But didn’t my words and my statutes that I commanded my servants the prophets overtake your ancestors?’”

So the people repented and said, “As the Lord of Armies decided to deal with us for our ways and our deeds, so he has dealt with us.”

The Night Visions

On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo:

First Vision: Horsemen

I looked out in the night and saw a man riding on a chestnut[a] horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in the valley.[b] Behind him were chestnut, brown, and white horses. I asked, “What are these, my lord?”

The angel who was talking to me replied, “I will show you what they are.”

10 Then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained, “They are the ones the Lord has sent to patrol the earth.”

11 They reported to the angel of the Lord standing among the myrtle trees, “We have patrolled the earth, and right now the whole earth is calm and quiet.”

12 Then the angel of the Lord responded, “How long, Lord of Armies, will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that you have been angry with these seventy years?” 13 The Lord replied with kind and comforting words to the angel who was speaking with me.

14 So the angel who was speaking with me said, “Proclaim: The Lord of Armies says: I am extremely jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. 15 I am fiercely angry with the nations that are at ease, for I was a little angry, but they made the destruction worse.[c] 16 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: In mercy, I have returned to Jerusalem; my house will be rebuilt within it—this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies—and a measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem.

17 “Proclaim further: This is what the Lord of Armies says: My cities will again overflow with prosperity; the Lord will once more comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.”

Second Vision: Four Horns and Craftsmen

18 Then I looked up and saw four horns. 19 So I asked the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these?”

And he said to me, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”

20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 I asked, “What are they coming to do?”

He replied, “These are the horns that scattered Judah so no one could raise his head. These craftsmen have come to terrify them, to cut off[d] the horns of the nations that raised a horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.”

Third Vision: Surveyor

I looked up and saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. I asked, “Where are you going?”

He answered me, “To measure Jerusalem to determine its width and length.”

Then the angel who was speaking with me went out, and another angel went out to meet him. He said to him, “Run and tell this young man: Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the number of people and animals in it.” The declaration of the Lord: “I myself will be a wall of fire around it, and I will be the glory within it.”

“Listen! Listen! Flee from the land of the north”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“for I have scattered you like the four winds of heaven”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “Listen, Zion! Escape, you who are living with Daughter Babylon.” For the Lord of Armies says this: “In pursuit of his glory, he sent me against the nations plundering you, for whoever touches you touches the pupil[e] of my[f] eye. For look, I am raising my hand against them, and they will become plunder for their own servants. Then you will know that the Lord of Armies has sent me.

10 “Daughter Zion, shout for joy and be glad, for I am coming to dwell among you”—this is the Lord’s declaration. 11 “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day and become my[g] people. I will dwell among you, and you will know that the Lord of Armies has sent me to you. 12 The Lord will take possession of Judah as his portion in the Holy Land, and he will once again choose Jerusalem. 13 Let all humanity be silent before the Lord, for from his holy dwelling he has roused himself.”

Fourth Vision: High Priest and Branch

Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the Lord, with Satan[h] standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord[i] said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! May the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Isn’t this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

Now Joshua was dressed with filthy[j] clothes as he stood before the angel. So the angel of the Lord[k] spoke to those[l] standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes!” Then he said to him, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with festive robes.”

Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So a clean turban was placed on his head, and they clothed him in garments while the angel of the Lord was standing nearby.

Then the angel of the Lord charged Joshua, “This is what the Lord of Armies says: If you walk in my ways and keep my mandates, you will both rule my house and take care of my courts; I will also grant you access among these who are standing here.

“Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your colleagues sitting before you; indeed, these men are a sign that I am about to bring my servant, the Branch. Notice the stone I have set before Joshua; on that one stone are seven eyes. I will engrave an inscription on it”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies—“and I will take away the iniquity of this land in a single day. 10 On that day, each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree.” This is the declaration of the Lord of Armies.

Fifth Vision: Gold Lampstand

The angel who was speaking with me then returned and roused me as one awakened out of sleep. He asked me, “What do you see?”

I replied, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top. The lampstand also has seven lamps at the top with seven spouts for each of[m] the lamps. There are also two olive trees beside it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”

Then I asked the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these, my lord?”

“Don’t you know what they are?” replied the angel who was speaking with me.

I said, “No, my lord.”

So he answered me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength or by might, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of Armies. ‘What are you, great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain. And he will bring out the capstone accompanied by shouts of: Grace, grace to it!’”

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “Zerubbabel’s hands have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Armies has sent me to you. 10 For who despises the day of small things? These seven eyes of the Lord, which scan throughout the whole earth, will rejoice when they see the ceremonial stone[n] in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

11 I asked him, “What are the two olive trees on the right and left of the lampstand?” 12 And I questioned him further, “What are the two streams[o] of the olive trees, from which the golden oil is pouring through the two golden conduits?”

13 Then he inquired of me, “Don’t you know what these are?”

“No, my lord,” I replied.

14 “These are the two anointed ones,”[p] he said, “who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”

Many see God only as a God of judgment and wrath. They seem him as a judge ready to throw the book at humans. This passage shows us that God is not only a God of judgment, but a God of compassion. He wants his people to return to him. He wants to have a right relationship with those whom he has redeemed through his son Jesus. Remember this when you feel conviction over sin. God gave us His Spirit so we would be convicted when we sin and repent and be returned to a right relationship with him.

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