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Day 216 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Zechariah.
Zechariah 5 – These visions deal with the comprehensive removal of sin in two distinct ways—through the execution and exile of sinners. Sin cannot be ignored by God; it must be dealt with effectively. If this is not done through the sinner coming to Jesus in faith and receiving salvation (see Zechariah 3), it must be done through the death of the sinner or his banishment into the uttermost darkness.
The removal of the impure from the midst of God’s people also points to the transformation of what remains into a purified remnant. It is good news that the idolater and the thief will no longer be in the land, because it points to the certainty and completeness of God’s sanctifying work. His restored people will become a holy nation, fit to receive the blessings of the covenant, not its curse. The future for God’s people lies in the new, holy Jerusalem, not in defiled Babylon, which is destined for destruction (Revelation 18). “Sin will have no dominion over you” (Romans 6:14) is a promise that encourages us eagerly to pursue lives of following Jesus.
How does it feel to know that, in Jesus, your no longer cursed but blessed?
Zechariah 6 – The idolaters who were driven out of God’s land and transported to Babylon in the previous vision will not remain there forever, as an ongoing threat to God’s people. God will send out His powerful forces, depicted as horsemen and chariots, to conquer the furthest reaches of the earth, extending His reign into every idolatrous corner of the world.
he complete destruction of Babylon awaits the coming of the Branch, the Messiah. Meanwhile, the returned exiles are to join those already in Jerusalem in a symbolic coronation of Joshua the high priest, looking forward to the coming of the one who will build the temple of the Lord and bear royal honor. The crown will be kept in the temple as a memorial, a “reminder” to the Lord of His promise.
Ultimately, Jesus is the promised Branch, who will establish the new temple in His own body. He unites in His person the two offices of king and priest, like Melchizedek (Hebrews 7), thereby making His people kings and priests to God (Revelation 5:10). The result of His coming is peace between us and God (Romans 5:1) and ultimately throughout the cosmos (Ephesians 1:21–23). This leaves no room for despair, even if our personal corner of time and space seems to be a day of small things (Zechariah 4:10). For as king, Jesus represents God to us, and as priest He represents us to God.
How does knowing Jesus is our connection the God of the universe awe and inspire you?
Zechariah 7 – What lies at the heart of our religious actions, whether fasting, gathering with the church, reading the Bible, or praying? These are all good things, but if we are doing them for ourselves, they are a waste of time. We cannot rely on religious rituals when there is no matching evidence of true life change (see James 1:27). Without obedience, there can be no fellowship with the Lord. The focus of this chapter is primarily law rather than gospel. To find hope, we need to look ahead into chapter 8, where the command of chapter 7 is placed in the context of God’s faithfulness to His covenant promise (8:1–3), which will ultimately turn our fasting to feasting.
Yet even as we reflect on Zechariah 7, we are drawn to remember that we can “show kindness and mercy to one another” only as we enjoy the kindness and mercy God has shown to us in Jesus (Ephesians 4:29–5:2).
How does know that it is Jesus who keeps the Law and the Prophets perfectly on our behalf, lead you to worship Him?
Zechariah 8 – The motivation for the self-denial of fasting was God’s curse of exile on a nation of covenant breakers. Now that the temple had been rebuilt, was it time to stop fasting? God’s faithfulness in bringing judgment on those who broke the covenant provided assurance that He would be similarly faithful in fulfilling His purpose in choosing Zion. He would return to Jerusalem and dwell among His people again, resulting in the covenantal blessings of happy youth and peaceful old age. Eden would be restored.
We too live in a fallen world that is under the curse of sin, and we feel its effects in sickness, pain, and broken relationships. If God were to treat us as we deserve, our suffering would be overwhelming. In recognition of the sin within us and around us, it is appropriate for us to fast to express personal sorrow for sin and its bitter fruits.
Most fundamentally, however, the curse of sin is trumped by God’s electing grace through Jesus’ perfect covenant keeping in our place. Nothing can prevent God’s purpose for His chosen ones from triumphing (Romans 8:37). God will bring to completion His sanctifying work in our hearts and the hearts of all of His people, so that our fasting will be turned into feasting at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9). The peace and promises God provides for those who believe in Jesus will ultimately be a cause of others longing to know the God of Israel.
How do you reflect the love of God to those around you?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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