Coming off the back of chapter 7, chapter 8 is a catalogue of Gods grace – God’s grace as the expression of God’s jealous love (verses 1-8), his grace available in the present (9-17), and his grace promised for the future (19-23). The recurrent phrase is “This is what the LORD Almighty says”, introducing each section. But in the meantime, God’s people have work to do…
Read Zechariah 8:9 and think about the following questions.
Zechariah refers to God as the LORD almighty. Looking back over the previous eight verses, what have we already been taught about the character of this God?
When Zechariah refers to the previous prophets, he probably has someone like Haggai in mind. Looking back to Haggai 1:4-7, how has God’s message stayed the same from that time until Zechariah’s time?
Gods grace motivates the people to be strong. In Ephesians 6:10 and 2 Timothy 2:1 how is the same true? Instead of building the temple now, what are we to build and how?
Our task now is to build God’s church in Islington and beyond. How will we enable God’s grace to strengthen us for that work?
Pray to the LORD Almighty, praising him that his message stays the same, and praying for his grace to empower you in the work of kingdom-building.
We saw yesterday that we follow the God of the impossible.
Are there any situations in your life that seem impossible to overcome?
Read: Zechariah 8:7-8
The people refused to listen to God and so He scattered them among the nations. It seemed impossible for them ever to be back in a relationship with Him. What is the amazing news here?
As Holy and Righteous, God must also be just. The people deserve to be under God’s judgement. If God is going to save them, as these verses say, how does this fit with Him also being just? Will He just let them off?
Read: Colossians 1:21-23
God has done the impossible, by saving us through the death of Jesus. Through faith in Jesus we are in a restored relationship with God.
How will this truth help you face the situations that seem impossible in your life today?
Pray: Giving glory to God for Jesus and God’s plan of salvation. Praising God that he is faithful and just and always keeps His promises. Pray that you would trust Him in the situations you are facing today.
God is showing His people His abundant grace and how He is going to pour out His blessings upon them. We have just seen a picture of future restoration: a world of peace, joy and rest. Now we come to our verse today.
Read: Zechariah 8:6
Does anyone deserve God’s perfect restoration?
The word ‘marvelous’ here could also be translated as ‘miraculous’ or ‘impossible’. In what way will our future restoration seem ‘impossible’?
What does this verse tell us about God?
Read: Matthew 19:23-26
How is this passage similar to our verse in Zechariah?
We follow the God of the impossible. How will we allow this truth to guide and motivate us today?
Pray: Asking for God’s forgiveness for the times when we don’t live wholeheartedly for Him. Praising Him that he saves sinners like us and will one day bring us into His marvelous rest. Pray that you would live for Him today, motivated by His amazing, impossible grace.
In chapter 8 God shows His abundant grace to His people. We have already seen that He is burning with jealous love for them and He promises that one day He will dwell with them perfectly. Today we are given a picture of what life will look like when God dwells with His people once again.
Read: Zechariah 8:4-5
Who in the picture is receiving God’s blessing?
How does this picture make you feel?
It may not seem that exciting to us but why was this an amazing picture for the people of God at the time of Zechariah?
Think of a day over the last couple of months when everything just went perfectly. Although we do experience God’s blessing in the present, He promises that our future will far surpass what we experience now. How does this make us feel about God?
Pray: Thanking God for His promise of a totally restored world, a place where there will be perfect peace and rest. Pray that you would be motivated by this future reality today as you tackle the hardships and unrest of this world. Pray for Christians around the world, particularly in countries such as North Korea, Syria and Nigeria, who are facing extreme persecution. Pray that they would be motivated and guided by God’s grace and this amazing hope for the future.
In Zechariah chapter 8 we see seven short sections all beginning with: ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says’. These seven sections speak of God’s amazing commitment to His people. Each day this week we will look at one of these sections. Yesterday we saw God’s jealous love for His people. Today we see one of the ways he’s going to bless them.
Read: Zechariah 8:3
Literally translated, verse 3 says ‘I have returned and I will dwell’ (The ESV translation is helpful here). God isn’t dwelling with His people fully yet because the temple hasn’t been completed. But in what way has he already returned to His people (read Zechariah 4:6)?
Although God wasn’t fully dwelling with His people, He was helping them build the temple by the power of His spirit. How is our relationship with God similar as Christians (read 2 Corinthians 1:22)?
What is the amazing future hope we see in this verse?
In what way does this verse, with it’s future focus, motivate and guide you to live for God today?
Pray: Thanking God that he is with us now, by his Spirit, and that He is transforming us into people of Truth and Holiness. Praise God for His amazing grace which means we will one day dwell with Him perfectly. Be motivated and guided by that truth today.
Chapter 7 and 8 are closely linked. Chapter 8 continues Zechariah’s answer to the question posed in chapter 7:3. The question is about fasting but the people don’t get a straight answer. Instead they are challenged about their heart motivation. Are they really doing things for God, or themselves? At the end of chapter 7 it would be easy for the people of God to feel totally despondent. But then comes chapter 8.
Read: Zechariah 8:1-2
When is it a positive thing to be jealous?
How is God’s jealousy a comfort to God’s people?
What does God’s jealousy tell us about His character?
Pray: Praising God for His jealous love for His people. Thanking God that, although we regularly let Him down He doesn’t break His covenant relationship with us but continues to be faithful, merciful and loving.
Zechariah has begun the second half of his book with a serious challenge. But as his introduction continues into chapter 8, rebuke turns to promise, and fasting turns to feasting, as God’s people are overwhelmed with grace…
Read Zechariah 8:1-8
What is the mood of the passage? Serious? Grand? Comforting? Mysterious?
Can jealousy be a good thing? If so, can you think of any examples?
What kind of a place will Jerusalem be? Would you want to live there?
What do you think the answer to God’s question is in verse 6? Why do you think that?
Why do you think God’s people needed to hear the promises of these verses? Why might we?
Pray: for Chris as he preaches on this passage on Sunday – and for each of us as we work through the consequences of God’s amazing grace.