Saturday 31st May – Zechariah 9:11-10:1

God’s king has arrived, humble and riding a donkey. But one day the conquest will come, and God’s people will be safe forever. We’ll be looking at Zechariah 9:11-10:1 on Sunday, but here’s a chance to get ahead…

Rad Zechariah 9:11-10:1 and think about the following questions

What is the mood of the passage? Sombre? Triumphant? Overwhelming?

What things happen in the passage? Who is doing them?

Where in the New Testament does the ‘blood of the covenant’ become an important idea?

When we see, or even participate in, God’s final victory?

Why did God’s people in Zechariah’s day need to hear this? Why might we?

Pray: for Jeremy as he preaches on Sunday, and all of us who are listening – for our hearts to be informed and encouraged by the scriptures.

 

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Friday 30th May – Zechariah 9:10

God’s king will turn up in Jerusalem, Zechariah promises, riding humbly on a donkey. But the effect that this king will have is a dramatic one…

Read Zechariah 9:10 and think about the following questions

What ideas or strategies in the past have been used to try and end war and bring about peace? Why have none of them succeeded?

What are the effects of the coming of the gentle king from verse 9? 

Who is speaking in this verse, and about whom?

Ephraim is the Northern Kingdom (known as Israel), which had become split from Jerusalem in the Southern Kingdom (known as Judah). What do you notice, though, about the relationship between these two countries in verse 10?

In fact, how far does this peace extend towards the end of verse 10? (Note that the seas mentioned might be the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, and the river is the Euphrates).

Queen Elizabeth the second reigns in England but doesn’t rule. In contrast, what will this monarch be like?

How does the peace that this king beings speak of his power, compassion, and sovereign authority. How privileged do you feel to be under his rule even now?

Pray: Longing for the future peace that Jesus God’s messiah will bring, and asking for help to live as a citizen of this kingdom even in the things you will face today.

Thursday 29th May – Zechariah 9:9

After eight verses of God gradually coming down from the North, we are waiting for God to turn up in Jerusalem as conqueror. But what we find instead is a humble king, riding on a donkey.

Read Zechariah 9:9, and think about the following questions.

Thinking back to verses like 3:8 and 6:12, who is this donkey-rider likely to be?

In what ways is this messiah-king described (there are about 5 ways in total)? Put together, what kind of person is this?

In the context of Zechariah, why all the rejoicing?

When Jesus fulfills this prophecy in Matt 21:5, what is the full significance of that? What is the implication for you about God’s judgement, and how you can be saved?

Pray: giving thanks that God has provided for you a humble and righteous messiah. Reaffirm your trust in him to save you from judgement.

 

Wednesday 28th May – Zechariah 9:7-8

God is coming down from the North to conquer many of Israel’s enemies. But there is something surprising about the way that he will do it…

Read Zechariah 9:7-8 and think about the following questions.

 Who are the people you know whom you consider least likely to become Christians? Why?

In verse 8, there is a great deal of comfort for God’s people. What will they experience and why? When will this happen, do you think (suggested by the words ‘never again’)?

God promises to ‘defend’ or literally ‘camp around’ God’s people. How does Psalm 34:7-8 pick up on a similar note of assurance?

Verse 7, though, contains a surprise. It is still talking about the Philistines (compare verse 6). How will they be involved in God’s plans?

The Jebusites were allowed to stay in Jerusalem by David when the city was conquered. How, then, will the Philistines be included by God (verse 7)?

However unlikely some of your friends seem to come to God, the Philistines were probably even less likely to join God’s people. How might that change your pre-conceived ideas, and how will it change your prayers?

Pray: for the people you know that seem least likely to become Christians. Pray for opportunities to tell them of God’s surprising plans to include outsiders.

Tuesday 27th May – Zechariah 9:1-6

Zechariah is beginning his second main block of teaching (chapters 9-14). Written in the style of ‘apocalyptic’, it contains a number of snapshots of the suffering shepherd, God’s king.

Read Zechariah 9:1-6, and have a think about the following questions…

What is the difference between saying “the word of the LORD” saying simply “the LORD” (verse 1)? Why do you think that God and his word are so closely associated?

In verse 1, when it says that “the eyes of men and all the tribes of Israel are on the LORD”, what feeling is that meant to convey? Fear? Excitement? Expectancy?

God has come to pronounce judgement on all of Israel’s ancient enemies? What is so unexpected about the judgement that God brings? Why is it such good news for God’s people?

God’s judgement is still to come (Acts 17:31). How, as new Testament Christians, can we be even more sure of this… and how are we to respond?

Pray: Giving thanks to God for his powerful word, looking to him with trust, and rejoicing that he will one day conquer all of mankind’s most ancient enemies – death, sin, and the devil.

Monday 26th May – Zechariah recap

This week we’re coming back to the book of Zechariah, our book of the year. This Bank Holiday Monday, why not use the time to read through and recap on the book as a whole?

If you have time, read Zechariah 1:1 – 14:21 (the whole book)

What are the main sections in the book, and what are the big themes? Why do you think God’s people needed to hear this as they established themselves in Jerusalem at the end of the exile?

The book of Haggai was written at exactly the same time. How do you think the two books interact?

Compare Zechariah 1:1-6 with 7:1-14. How do the two halves of the book begin in similar ways?

Looking at 3:1-10 and 12:10-13:1, what issues lie at the heart of each half? Why do you think Zechariah might be quoted so often in the New Testament?

Pray: giving thanks that God not only cleanses Christians, but does so through the suffering of his shepherd-king. Pray that his salvation plans would become more important to you in your thinking and conversation, wherever you are today.

 

 

Friday 16th May – Genesis 9:18-29

Looking back over the whole Genesis account, what stands at the centre (8:1) is God’s rescue from judgement. Not only does Noah find favour with God, but God remembers him and brings him through to safety. What follows the account, though, brings you down with a bump (so to speak). Because even something as radical as a flood has not dealt with the sinfulness of the human heart.

Read Genesis 9:18-29.

Why do you think that even Christians carry on sinning? Why does it seem so impossible to eradicate sin in your life?

The family that comes out of the ark represents the ancestors of people who scatter over the earth (19). In what ways, then, are they like a new Adam and Eve?

It seems from the context that Ham is the one to blame in verses 20-22. What do you think he did that was so serious (maybe Exodus 20:12 is in mind)?

In fact, history is repeating itself – it’s like Genesis 3 happening all over again. What then has the flood achieved, and what has it not achieved?

What will it take, then, to rid the world from sin? Name the ways in which the cross is even more radical than a worldwide flood.

Pray: that you would appreciate the extremity to which God went to deal with sin in his world, and so ask him to deal with the sins in your life knowing that because of the cross, they are dealt with finally and forever.