Read: Zechariah 1:1-21
Then the angel said to me, “Shout this message for all to hear: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Jerusalem and Mount Zion is passionate and strong. “…My Temple will be rebuilt, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies… The towns of Israel will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem as his own.’” Zechariah 1: 14, 16 – 17
While the books by earlier prophets offered warnings, calls to repentance for the early Jews, and foretold God’s coming judgment for not turning from their idolatrous ways, the book of Zechariah is one that offers the fulfillment of the hope God promised the Jewish people would come following His judgment. Zechariah lived and prophesied after the 70 year Jewish exile. In his time, some of the Jewish people had been back in their homeland for several years; however, things were still far from good: Judah was a province of the Persian Empire and subject to Persian laws; the Jewish people were recovering from a devastating drought; and the Jews didn’t yet have the temple rebuilt where they could go to seek God’s help. The Jewish people could use some good news, and God provided it through His prophet Zechariah.
As you may remember, God made a promise to the Jews that they would one day be back home in the land promised to them. This promise was so powerful that it astounded Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32) because it was more than just a promise that they would be able to own property; it was a promise that God would restore His people, His temple, and He would live with them again. The focus verses for today show this promise and the excitement and enthusiasm behind it. Take a minute to scroll back up and re-read the focus verses. The angel doesn’t tell Zechariah to write it down or to timidly tell others about it. He tells Zechariah to “Shout this message for all to hear”.
God was telling the Jews that He is keeping His promise to them. As you’ve been reading the Bible, hopefully you are starting to understand some of the characteristics of God that He chooses to reveal to us. When we say that God is all-powerful, we are saying that He and His will are unlimited by time, space, or any force. However, God’s nature has determined that He is incapable of certain things; God can’t act in any way that will go against His nature. Because part of God’s nature is truth, it prevents Him from lying; this means, unlike any human, God is incapable of breaking promises. This part of God’s character (that He cannot lie and must keep His promises) is revealed in many scriptures throughout both the Old and the New Testaments. Some that come to mind are:
1 Samuel 15:29: “And He who is the Glory of Israel (another name for God) will not lie, nor will He change His mind, for He is not human that He should change His mind!””
Malachi 3:6: ‘“I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.”’
Romans 3:4: “Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true.”
Titus 1:2: “This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God – Who does not lie – promised them before the world began.”
Hebrews 6:18: “So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.”
If you believe in the God of the Bible, you believe in a God Who cannot lie and cannot break His promises to you. This can be a difficult principle of Christianity for people to accept because many of us have been let down and hurt by people we trusted with our hearts (neglectful or abusive parents, an adulterous or abusive spouse, a rebellious child, etc). While we can accept God as powerful and even as merciful, graceful, and forgiving, our woundings and baggage can make it difficult to believe that anyone (even God) can fully be trusted to keep their word. To quote Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?”
Lord, Thank You that You love me so much that You continue to reveal Yourself to me through Your Word. Please help me to know You. Help me to understand and accept the truths about You that You reveal. Help me to trust You completely with all of my heart and trust in Jesus’ work and death on the cross as sufficient to pay my sin debt in full. In His name I pray… Amen.