Monday, August 29, 2022

            Zechariah’s name means “God remembered.”  And in the days of his prophecy, the people needed to know that God had remembered them.  He prophesied about the same time as the prophet Haggai.  His message was aimed primarily at the Remnant of Jews that had returned from the Babylonian Exile to resettle the land that God had originally given His people.  He delivered a message of hope to the people who heard him.  He also had some words to speak about the coming end of history where God draws everything to a close according to His purposes and for His glory.  One of the earliest verses we read in this prophecy is a recipe for spiritual revival and renewal that works to this day.  We read, “Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 1:3).  We see three truths in this verse that can speak to us today.
            First, revival and renewal are possible.  Our faith can be strengthened and our walk with the Lord can be deepened.  If we are frustrated or stagnant in our faith, we certainly do not have to stay that way.  We can live again.  We can experience renewal and a fresh encounter with the Lord.  Second, if we return to the Lord, He will return to us.  He will bring new life and new hope to those who trust Him and seek Him.  The Lord takes great delight in renewing His people.  He is overjoyed when His people turn to Him and walk with Him in new ways of trust and worship.  And third, this promise is backed up by the assurance and character of God: “this is what the LORD Almighty says.”  We are not looking at a human promise or a mere statistical chance or probability.  God assures us that He will do this for us.  We have a 100% guarantee. 
            As a supplement to this promise in Zechariah 1:3, we can turn to Zechariah 4:6 where we read, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”  Renewal comes from the Lord.  And God brings renewal by His Spirit and not by power or might.  Renewal comes when our spirit is touched by His and when our faith walk through life reaches out to walk with Him.  God does not promise renewal with the loudest sounds and brightest lights.  He brings renewal when sincere hearts return to Him in sincere ways.  He is often most experienced in subtle and simple ways.
            A bit later in Zechariah, we read a prophecy concerning Christ.  “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!  Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9).  This verse is often shared on Palm Sunday.  We can also see in this prophecy an image of Christ coming into human hearts and lives that turn to Him.  He is righteous and victorious and comes into those who humble themselves before Him and seek Him.  The proud generally believe they need nothing.  The conceited rarely look beyond themselves.  But to those who seek the Lord in humility, they find Him ready to enter their lives with victory, righteousness and goodness.  In this same measure, Zechariah spoke of God’s work among His people in 12:10.  We read, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced...”  We encounter God’s grace in full measure through the cross and the death of His Son.  Through His piercing, stripes and blood, we are healed and made whole again.  Our wickedness is replaced with His righteousness and the debts that separated us from the Father are forever settled and paid for.  Renewal and revival are possible even for those whose faith is most weary and frayed.  Salvation and renewal both come from the same source—from the One who was pierced for us.  May God encourage you and renew you as you begin a new week.  And remember you can share our worship with others any time at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.  

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