Zechariah 1:1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,
2 The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers.
3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.
4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD.
5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?
6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.
God chose the nation of Israel as a vehicle through whom He could show His goodness to man. He demonstrated His faithfulness to Himself in the promises that He made to Abraham. The nation of Israel was not willing to follow God’s leadership. There was always a remnant that chose to know the truth, but the majority of the people rejected the truth. Yet God never forsook the nation of Israel. There are Gentile nations that no longer exist. However, Israel still exists as a nation and as a people.
I listened to a short clip of an interview with Golda Meir recently. She was the 4th Prime Minister of Israel and ruled from 1969-1974. In the interview she spoke of the Palestinians, but she also seemed confused about who she was. She spoke of the Palestinians as a recent development, but she also said that she had a Palestinian passport for a number of years. History tells us that the Jews were called Palestinians. The name Palestine is a derivative of the name Philistia. The land of Israel was given the name Palestine sometime around the 5th century B.C. The land that was given the name of Palestine was originally called Israel by God. The people of Israel were called Israelites. The name was changed to Palestine by the enemies of God. The land that God promised to Israel was much larger than what they have today. Israel is not occupying the land they are in. It is part of the land that God gave to Israel. The current Palestinians are occupying some of the land that belongs to Israel. God will give all the land He promised to Israel in the time of the Millennium.
The book of Zechariah begins with some facts of the time of the writing. The 8th month is our November. It was in the second year of Darius. This was not the same Darius as the king of the Medes in the days of Daniel. Zechariah lived during the time of the restoration of the remnant of Israel in about 520 B.C. Zechariah lived during the same time as Haggai and Ezra.
We are given further detail about this Zechariah in verse 1. He was the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet. This separates him from some other men with the same name. The name Zechariah means: “Jehovah remembers”.
In verse 2 we find a common message from the LORD. There were more times when God was displeased with Israel, than when He was pleased with them. Israel, as a nation often chose to reject God and they mixed His truth with the idolatry of the nations around her. In verse 2 Zechariah stated that the LORD was sore displeased with the fathers of Israel. The fathers should have known the LORD, but they chose not to know Him. They were not willing to know God and teach the truth of God to the next generation.
In verse 3 the LORD was challenging the nation to turn back to Him. You notice that He is further described as the LORD of hosts. Three times this phrase is found in this verse. The LORD was reminding the people that regardless of whether they want to acknowledge Him, He is still the LORD of hosts. He is the LORD of all creation. Man needs to know this.
You notice here as well that the LORD of hosts does not bless the lost in the same way He does those who are His children. He would turn to the nation of Israel if they would turn to Him. He brought the nation into existence. He justly requires a person to turn to Him in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour in order to enjoy the blessings that are reserved for those who are saved. Prior to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the saints trusted in the promise of the Messiah. Their hope was in the same Saviour as those who are saved today. Eternal life is a gift reserved for the saved. A peace that passeth all understanding is reserved for those who are saved. A safe homeland for the nation of Israel was a promise based on their obedience to the Lord in trusting Him and serving Him. Israel had failed and thus Zechariah needed to remind them of their need repent.
In verse 4 God again reminds the people that He is the LORD of hosts. He also warns them not to be like their fathers. Children do not need to choose the sins of their fathers. Every person is given the opportunity to be saved. The Holy Spirit works in every person’s life to convince them of sin, of righteousness and of judgment.
Many children today are filled with so much vain entertainment that their minds are severely cluttered with junk. This junk will interfere with the work of the Holy Spirit, however every child will also discover that all the junk they feed on is not satisfying. They will be looking for something more. God, the Holy Spirit, is working to draw the child to listen to the truth. Churches do not need to compete with the junk the world offers children. Churches need to teach children the truth. The Spirit of God is working in the child’s heart to move them to repentance and true faith. The Holy Spirit is more powerful that the devil’s lies. What is required is for the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s Word. Adults also need the same.
In verse 4 Zechariah reminded the hearers that they had not listened to God’s warnings as given by His prophets. He reminded them that the words he was speaking were not just his words. They were from the LORD. They were inspired by the LORD. Zechariah was not putting his spin on the Word of the LORD. He was told to declare “Thus saith the LORD”, just as the earlier prophets had done.
In verse 5 the people need to consider the consequences of their fathers rebellion. The fathers were either taken captive by Babylon or they were killed in the invasion of their homeland. Many of the captured fathers had died on foreign soil. They did not have the protection they thought they had. They were defenceless without true faith in God. There is no benefit to rebellion against the LORD.
In verse 6 we see the contrast. The Words of the LORD were eternal. Yes, the former true prophets had died. However, their words lived on. They were still true and they were still applicable. We might remember the words of our earthly fathers for a time after they die. However, we do not keep them for that long. However, God’s Word is eternal. It is a timeless book. It is a powerful book. The Words of the LORD are relevant for every generation. There are promises given directly to the nation of Israel. The New Testament churches do not replace Israel. There are principles we can apply from those passages. There are many promises that are for all people. There are also many warnings that are for all people.
Zechariah asked an important question in verse 6. He wanted to know what happened to the Word of the LORD that was spoken to their fathers. Why had they not heeded it. Why had it not taken root in their lives?
The people had to admit that God had dealt with their fathers justly. They had not listened to the LORD and they were taken captive or killed. They did not have a homeland. Now this current generation was being allowed to come back to the land but the land was in ruins. It was a picture of the hearts of many of the people. Their lives were in ruins because they had rejected the LORD. God paints very vivid pictures to shock us into reality.
The accounts given and the pictures shown of the recent events in Israel are shocking as well. Too many people are celebrating the evil done. Some are deeply moved by what they have seen and heard. However, few are turning to the LORD in repentance. The Israeli army is focused on revenge. The soldiers are equipped with weapons. They are seeking to improve their defences and their offence.
I do not know if the preaching of the Gospel has been increased. There certainly is a need for the preaching of the Gospel. There is a need to regain the territory lost and to punish the enemies. There is also a need to know God’s peace and to serve Him. Israel is finding the resolve of their physical enemies stronger than before. This too is a picture of how strong a hold the devil has on the hearts of many of the Jews. We know that Hamas is completely sold out to the devil. We know that Islam is a religion of hate. Amidst the defensive and offensive fighting taking place, there needs to be the proclamation of the truth.
We know that during the Tribulation time, God will have His witnesses that will faithfully proclaim the truth in the midst of the wickedness of the antichrist and his many followers. God always makes His truth plain and evident to all people. Those who are in the current fight need to know God’s peace in their hearts. Most of them do not know that today. Most of those who were murdered did not know it either. That is the tragedy of rejecting God’s truth.
The warning is there for us today as well. Most people are too preoccupied with “stuff” and have no time for the truth. People are dying and going to hell on a daily basis. It does not have to be this way. However, if a person rejects the truth, there is no other option. It is important to listen to the Word of the LORD. He is the only true God. There are many false gods today, just as there were in Zechariah’s days. However, the Word of the LORD is eternal. God’s Word is readily available today. God has some true churches today as well. If you will listen to Him, He will guide you to a true church that can help you to know Him. There is nothing more important for you than to know the true God today and walk with Him daily. That is the way of blessing. The entire Bible is a message for all of mankind. God shows us His goodness and His power in the beginning. He shows what happens when man rebelled against Him. He shows His mercy and grace in reaching out to man after he sinned. It shows the consequences of sin and the way of forgiveness and blessing. It shows the just judgments of God. It also shows the holiness of God. There are many things the Bible teaches us. We need to pay attention to what God says, rather than ignore It as the Jews did in our text.
God shows us the danger of rejecting Him. He also shows us the blessings of knowing Him and serving Him. Choose wisely.