Tag: Visions of the future
Scripture reading for September 28th: Zechariah 1-2
Which do you prefer: a scathing rebuke? or encouragement? God’s prophets used different styles and approaches to get the message to God’s people. The prophet Zechariah prophesied during the time of the first return to Jerusalem after captivity in Babylon. Zechariah is one of the longest of the minor prophets and he employs a very encouraging style of message designed to motivate the Jews who came to rebuild Jerusalem. Let’s look at how he encourages them in these first two chapters!
Zechariah begins his message with a word from the Lord to Israel. The Lord had been angry with their forefathers because they would not respond to His call for them to return to Him. For years prophets had been sent with a simple message calling for repentance from evil and idolatry and a faith response of obedience toward God. But the people of God would not respond so God’s word, which promised consequences and curses for disobedience, overtook them! (Deuteronomy 28:15) People just can’t outrun the word of the Lord! (Zechariah 1:6)
Zechariah then was given a night vision of a man riding a red horse. This rider was followed by riders on red, brown and white horses. As he asked the Lord for understanding, an angel answered him. These horses and riders were ones that the Lord had sent throughout the whole earth and they reported back that the world was at rest and peace. The angel then turned to the Lord and asked Him a question: “How long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem?” (Zechariah 1:12-13) (Revelation 6:1-7)
The Lord answered the angel with encouraging words about Jerusalem. He was jealous for Jerusalem and would return to Jerusalem with mercy. The temple would be rebuilt and the measuring line again stretched over the city in order to build the wall of protection around it and keep it secure. Prosperity would again flow to God’s people and God, Himself, would comfort them. (Zechariah 1:14-17) (Revelation 11:1-2)
It sounded good, but in the vision four horns appeared. Zechariah was puzzled and asked their meaning. They represented the nations that had lifted their power against Israel and scattered them. (Zechariah 1:18-21) They would be thrown down by spiritual forces of the Lord in the heavenly realm. A spiritual conflict would go on as the temple was rebuilt, but God’s people would succeed!
God’s people would succeed because their protection was not just physical walls! In fact, Jerusalem would be a city without walls! God, Himself, would be a “wall of fire” around the city and its Glory! (Zechariah 2:4-5) What a glorious vision of encouragement to those who had by faith come to rebuild the city! God’s promises can be depended on and faith lays hold of them. God further stated that His people were the “apple of His eye” and that He would deal with anyone who would oppose them!
Are you fearful today? Do you need a word of encouragement? Read Zechariah 1-2 and let God speak vision and encouragement! He is your wall of fire and Glory forever!