Four Life Questions
As I began preparing to study Zechariah’s oracles, four questions seemed to surface from the commentaries I was reading.
1) Would you like to feel good whenever you want to and in such a way that all pain is eliminated?
2) Would you like to have a guaranteed wall of protection that would keep you from ever experiencing life’s difficulties and disasters?
3) Would you like to have guaranteed resources you could control that would always make life work?
4) Would you like to have a guaranteed plan of action that would take the uncertainties and mysteries out of life?
Nobody can tell what you are thinking right now, so it is totally safe to be honest. Maybe, like me, you said “I want that” to all four questions, it just depends on what is happening at the moment, right?
It is going to take probably about sixteen Fridays to read deeply of Zechariah’s book, and in that journey we are going to see how the Lord answered these life desires to God’s people through Zechariah.
Zechariah, A Young Teen
Zechariah was the other prophet who had accompanied the prophet Haggai (who was middled-aged at that time), the governor Zerubbabel and the priest Joshua (who were both young men).
Now the prophets, Haggaiand Zechariah son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak set out to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them. . .
“May the God who has established his name there overthrow any king or people that shall put forth a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, make a decree; let it be done with all diligence.”
Then, according to the word sent by King Darius, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did with all diligence what King Darius had ordered. So the elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of the prophet Haggaiand Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished their building by command of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia.Ezra 5:1-2, 6:12-14 (NRSV)
Think about Haggai and Zechariah both returning from captivity with the people under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua.
Both men were willing to take risks for God, to trust God and do God’s will. They repented of their sin, right along with everybody else, rolled up their sleeves, got started on the work, worshiped at the altar when the sacrifices were made . . . and they felt just as defeated as everybody else when the work got halted.
Zechariah, whose name means “God Remembered,” was probably a teen when he came with that first wave of Jewish exiles. Apparently, his father had died young, since Ezra’s account had Zechariah succeeding his grandfather Iddo, though Zechariah’s account includes his father Berechiah.
For years, both had been advisors to Zerubbabel and Joshua, and teachers to the people. But, when Haggai heard God’s voice and began to prophecy, thirty years later, I imagine that must have so inspired the younger Zechariah.
And then God spoke to Zechariah as well!
The Word of the Lord to Zechariah
In November, about a month after Haggai delivered his second message Zechariah preached his first, an invitation to the people go deeper with God. Zechariah also dated his writing, to between 520 BC and 518 BC.
Some scholars posit Zechariah’s grandfather Iddo was the head of a priestly family, which would explain Zechariah’s interest in and familiarity with the temple and the priesthood. It is also possible Iddo had himself been a seer and written a book of his visions.
Zechariah is the longest of these three prophetic books, concentrated on the theme of God choosing and desiring Israel, of the Lord’s promise to dwell among God’s beloved people forever.
Zechariah is remindful of the donkey, bringing to mind his famous prophecy of the Lord coming in peace, riding on a donkey.
With many thanks to a really wonderful resource on YouTube called “The Bible Project,” let us begin our study of Zechariah with this overview.
[Bíblia de Cervera, Menorá de Zacarias (fl 316v) | By Samuel ben Abraham ibn Nathan (tratado de gramática), Josué ben Abraham ibn Gaon (texto religioso) e Josef Asarfati (iluminuras) – Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67754029%5D