Second burden given to Zechariah, finishes out his prophecy. Is a massah in part because like other burdens speaks of impending judgment on God’s enemies. Content of message not limited to judgment, includes great promises about coming salvation, Savior who would achieve it. Some of what God threatened would happen more than once, each preliminary judgment a warning / preview of “the big one”.
Phrase that occurs repeatedly: “in/on that day” 7x in chapter 12, 10x additional in chapters 13 and 14. No wonder apostle Paul would declare so confidently to philosophers in Athens that God “has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.” (Acts 17:31). Not surprise either that is a “mixed” message… both bad news and good news. Jewish way of thinking (unlike ours) mirrors first chapter of Bible: “the evening and the morning were the ___ day” – light follows darkness, day follows night, blessing follows judgment.
Even though dire things are threatened for many, still a message of profound hope… one world still needs to hear, and will need to hear it until that day finally arrives.
A. Which God is Speaking: the Sovereign Creator Lord v.1
not to be question in anyone’s mind who is speaking, why should take what he says seriously
not the last time someone made big threats: “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US [President] with fire.” Kim Jong Il — but is it credible? The one speaking in our text certainly is.
sovereign in creating
look at evidence presented in cosmos – whether thru telescope or microscope, struggle for words, ways to adequately describe
evidence for committee totally absent – has all marks of single creator who had comprehensive purpose for creating
Being who made it all must have power / authority that transcends all he made – iow, one who has no equal, competitor
just a btw, not describing kind of creative activity we pursue… rearranging what already exists – God started with nothing
sovereign in governing
don’t have to be scientist to grasp concept that is precious little in universe that behaves in truly random way
laws of nature, matter, physics, etc. are recognized, embedded within creation – laws require a lawgiver… who governs
if Creator God has no peer, neither does Governor God – the One who made all things is law to himself and his creation
and… that God can and will do as he pleases because he has rights: of ownership and rulership
sovereign over All
no created thing has authority over Creator – all authority ultimately has source in God – Paul’s universal negative: “there is no authority except from God” (Rom. 13:1)
he is sovereign authority over seen / unseen, material / immaterial – no rogue particles anywhere exempt from God’s governing
this God has: authority to govern, purpose to direct his governing, power to make things happen, will to put things in motion
NOTE: given all this is true about God, how much we need to thank / praise him for being good, merciful and gracious
a God with this kind of power and authority… if more like us… would quickly be harsh, oppressive tyrant
and REMEMBER: promises of God to/for his people depend for fulfillment on size of God, not size of our faith
B. What will God do For Us: He Will Keep His People v.2-9
an enduring church
title of book – “If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?” – for believer, pits an inescapable part of earthly life
just as Jerusalem surrounded by powerful enemies, church in both Testaments in same circumstance… under constant assault
notice: God does not tell his people hang on, take courage, be tough, you’ll make it; instead, tells what He will make happen
those who reject what would be achieved in Jerusalem (Jesus’ death, resurrection) feel brunt of his judgment
all who persistently try to carry out agenda against church, move it from its foundation, will be broken instead
e.g., UMC, attempts to change Book of Order, move church away from Bible – God will preserve true church
an invincible and expanding church
doesn’t matter how intense attacks get against church, people of God – church and saints will persevere… because YHWH himself will defend and preserve them
attempts to hinder / stifle growth of church will by God’s design and actions have just opposite result
enemies will end up destroying themselves rather than the church – even weakest Christian stronger than most powerful enemy
for this reason: 1 John 4:4 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
will be God himself who deals personally with his enemies who are also enemies of his people – will be fully finally defeated
C. What will God do In Us: He will Convert His People v.10-14
real conversion: pleas for grace and evidence of grace
notice sequence here, is vital to understand: God pours out Spirit of grace and supplication, then they will look to him
God has to move first… and when God moves, results will follow – when God changes hearts, they do respond to him
pray as if it all depends on God, work as if it all depends on us – pray for God to do his part, us to do ours, keeping goal in mind: genuine conversion, evidence of grace in others
God Himself pierced?
must have shocked listeners, how could it be possible – yet, will be real tragedy that results in genuine mourning
one scene captures this picture: Day of Pentecost, “arrival” of Holy Spirit not on Eleven only, Peter’s bold sermon, response of listeners: what have we done, what do we do now?
real conversion vs. mere convincing
when Josiah killed in battle by king of Egypt, Jews believed had no further cause for hope, no hope of deliverance
was real grief, same on Pentecost – understood what had done, potential consequences, mourned greatly
if only convinced then next person with more airtight case / better script will convince of something different
when God at work converting people, will remain loyal to God and his truth regardless of persuasive arguments otherwise
Is much in passage like this to encourage missions / evangelism – that Day is coming, will be no second chances, people need to hear and respond to Gospel while still time. And… when we are God’s agents, working with him in his redemptive plan, can have total confidence that He will bring about His perfect purpose. Size and intensity of opposition no hindrance to God, should not discourage us. Instead should remind us of God’s great grace that put us on right side, that moves him to delay while others respond to Gospel.