Time to play catch-up. I had the unexpected opportunity to be away with my two oldest daughters for a couple of days at Great Wolf Lodge, an opportunity that I would have been silly to pass up. Unfortunately, that has put me behind on my blog posts, among other things. Today is catch-up day. Thankfully, the readings for the last couple of days center on two books: Zechariah and Esther, two books that we can deal with in one post each…Well, not exactly deal with in their totality because both books are full of things to talk about, but we can draw some broad strokes in one post each.
Here’s the truth about Zechariah: it is probably the most difficult book in the Old Testament in terms of explaining it. About the only easy think about Zechariah is placing it in history. Zechariah ministered and wrote in the second year of King Darius of Persia, about two months after the prophet Haggai received his first message from God. It is likely that Haggai and Zechariah knew one another and their prophetic ministries overlapped for a period time.
Both prophets brought words of encouragement to the exiles struggling to restore the Temple and Jerusalem, but their encouragement came with strong reminders to remain faithful to God, repent of sin and follow after God with all of their hearts and minds.
The difference between the two prophets was that Haggai focused primarily on the rebuilding of the Temple and the glory of God that would return there, referring to both the restoration age but also to the future Messianic age. While Haggai is slim on its references to the Messianic age, Zechariah spends a lot of its time focusing on the rich promises of God that will be fulfilled as history unfolds. But Zechariah keeps in the forefront of his discussion that the riches of God’s promises are “for people who have repented of sin and are ready to embrace the will and declarations of God.” (Boice, The Minor Prophets Vol.2, pg 488)
As for the nine visions of Zechariah, I don’t have the space to outline what some commentators believe their meanings to be. They are apocalyptic in nature, meaning that they have to do with the end of days. They are visionary in form, meaning that they are intended to draw in your attention and capture your imagination while giving insight. And they are all focused on the same encouraging message that the rest of Zechariah is focused on.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Next Reading: Esther