Summary: Christians need a renewal of vows to be and do what God would have His people to be and do, for which are promised positive outcomes that bring glory to God and rejoicing by God's people.
MINORS’ LESSONS THAT HAVE MAJOR IMPACT VI: JOY – Learned from “Who Knows?”
Based on Zechariah 9-14
They had been through so much. Throughout their entire history, the people of God fought for survival. It seemed that everywhere they turned, an enemy reared its ugly head to threaten their peace and security.
A couple of weeks ago, I was standing in a conference room at the counseling center talking to the pastor of the church; he said to me, in a rather hushed tone of voice, “Don’t move; there’s a snake behind you.”
Did he say a snake - inside the building – on a carpeted floor? He had to be off his rocker! Why would he try to trick me into believing there was a snake at my heels?
My instinct got the best of me, and I quickly jumped aside; to my amazement, he did not burst into laughter as I expected; there WAS a little snake hissing at the two of us as if we had invaded its territory.
Can you believe it? A serpent got inside the church! I could not help but wonder if that serpent was one of the church’s adversaries that had been put in its place by the Lord God.
The Israelites may have been God’s chosen people, but they had to put up with real live serpents that took the form of rulers of many of the empires of the then known world! Not much has changed, has it?
In our study of Zechariah, the prophet preached a three-point sermon in which he told the people of Judah what God wants people to do.
God wants His people to:
(1) Repent of their sins; there can be no personal relationship with God unless we repent of our sins . . .
(2) Depend on the Holy Spirit to work in and through them to do His Will; nothing of lasting value will ever be accomplished unless we allow the Spirit of God to empower us . . .
(3) Worship and serve Him with integrity; worship that calls attention to self rather than the Savior is not genuine worship; serving God in any way other than doing right toward our fellow man is not genuine service.
Repentance – dependence – integrity – these lessons we learned from Zechariah. Now we come to the final section of the book that bears his name; but practically all biblical scholars agree that chapters 9-14 consist of “oracles” that were written by Zechariah’s followers after he had died.
An “oracle” was a divine “utterance” – like a “vision” received by someone close to God and put into words by the recipient of the vision. Christians are admonished, for example, in the New Testament to become “oracles” for God; when you receive a revelation from God, pass it on!
Although we are uncertain about the authenticity of these oracles, there is one major truth to be gleaned from these chapters, and it is this:
Those who remain faithful to the Lord, by putting into practice the lessons learned from the Minor Prophets, will one-day experience real JOY.
If the lives of God’s people are characterized by humility as advised by Zephaniah, commitment as advised by Haggai, repentance, dependence and integrity as advised by Zechariah, the Day is coming when His chosen people shall rejoice! What will there be for God’s people to rejoice about?
(1) Jerusalem’s enemies will be destroyed.
(2) Zion’s king will come.
(3) The Lord will appear.
(4) The Lord will care for Judah.
(5) The northern and southern kingdoms will be re-united.
(6) There will be cleansing from sin.
(7) The Shepherd will be struck and the sheep will scatter.
(8) Finally, the Lord will come and reign forever!
How do we as Christians interpret these oracles tacked onto the book of Zechariah? Some of the language sounds very familiar, does it not? And there are those who believe that historically these oracles predicted the fall of the Persian Empire at the hands of Alexander the Great.
Be that as it may, there is a central theme that runs throughout these oracles: The day is coming when we shall rejoice.
This theme leads us to believe that, since Zechariah was a prophet whose visions reached far into the future, what we have here is not only predictions that were fulfilled before the coming of Christ, but messianic prophecies that were fulfilled in the coming of Christ and will be fulfilled when He comes again. When that happens . . .
We shall rejoice over the coming of our Savior --- Zechariah 9:9 . . .
In Zechariah’s day, Judah had no king; they were ruled by a governor appointed by the king of Persia. So, how do we Christians interpret this?
The King (spelled with a capital “K”) is coming! He is coming to save us from the chief enemy of us all. How do we know that this prophecy had to do with the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?