The Heart of God: Exile and Return (4)
And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
Read and meditate on Zechariah 1, 3, 6, 8, 9, and 14.
Even as the people were struggling to rebuild the temple, and looking forward to rejoicing in the Lord again, Zechariah was pointing them ahead to fuller covenant blessings yet to come.
1. What did Zechariah mean by saying that the Word of God had overtaken Israel’s fathers (1.3-6)? How should this serve to warn and counsel God’s people today?
2. Meditate on Zechariah 3. The priest, named Joshua, is accused by Satan, justified by God, established as ruler of His people, and given the promises of God’s covenant. How many ways can you see Jesus in these verses?
3. Chapter 6 connects with chapter 3 through the image of the Branch. Who is this Branch? What will He do? How do these verses teach us to think about the coming reign of God (cf. Dan. 2.44, 45)?
4. Zechariah 8 and 9 foresee a day of great expansion of God’s Kingdom. How many details of this can you identify? What will the coming rule of God be like? Why would such a vision have been important to the people of Israel at this particular time?
5. Jonathan Edwards wrote an entire book on Zechariah 8.20-23, in which he called on the people of New England to seek the Lord for revival. What are the key elements of such prayers, as you see them outlined in these verses?
Israel’s return to the land of promise was a big deal. But it was not as big as some had hoped, and the people don’t seem to have been much different from those who’d gone into exile. Would the great promises of “blessed to be a blessing” ever come to realization? What vision did Haggai and Zechariah hold out for these people, as they stood before their disappointingly small temple, and their feeble and still-ruined city? How should their preaching serve to counsel pastors in our day?
O God, You know my foolishness;
And my sins are not hidden from You.
Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me;
Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel.
Because for Your sake I have borne reproach;
Shame has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my brothers,
And an alien to my mother's children;
Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting,
That became my reproach.
I also made sackcloth my garment;
I became a byword to them.
Those who sit in the gate speak against me,
And I am the song of the drunkards.
But as for me, my prayer is to You,
O LORD, in the acceptable time;
O God, in the multitude of Your mercy,
Hear me in the truth of Your salvation.
T. M. Moore
Two books can help you gain a fuller understanding of the terrain we will be covering in this series. Kingdom Documentsprovides a concise overview of the primary teaching of the Old and New Testaments, and shows, through early Church creeds, how our forebears understood the primary teachings of God’s Word. (click here to order). I Will Be Your Goddevelops more fully the idea of God’s covenant and leads us to consider the practical implications of our covenant relationship with God (click here).
Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, offers a parallel study of our theme in this series, using brief video presentations and the workbook God’s Covenant: An Introduction. All courses at The Ailbe Seminary are available without charge.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.