Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Zechariah+001
The prophet Zechariah brought his messages to the returned exiles of Judah beginning in the second year of King Darius of Persia (520 BC). The book has two main parts. The first contains two sequences of prophecies, primarily in the form of symbolic vision reports. The second main part is made up mostly of poetic oracles concerned with the nation’s leaders.
After a general call to repentance, Zechariah records a series of eight visions to encourage the people in rebuilding the temple. The first and last describe four differently colored horses and their riders sent over the earth. The second and third visions show that hostile foreign powers no longer threaten the country. The sixth and seventh visions report the removal of the people’s sins. The two central visions depict God establishing Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor. The overall message is that God has everything in place for the rebuilding project.
The second sequence of prophecies has six parts. Ever since the disaster of the exile and the temple’s destruction, the people had been fasting at certain times of the year. The messages here urge the people to practice justice as the true form of fasting and to focus on rebuilding. Then Zechariah announces that all their fasts will become joyful celebrations.
The book’s final section predicts that after the people suffer under bad shepherds, God will send a righteous king from David’s line. The Lord will triumph over every enemy and be king over the whole earth.
Zechariah 1 (ESV)
A Vision of a Horseman
7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, son of Iddo, saying, 8 “I saw in the night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse! He was standing among the myrtle trees in the glen, and behind him were red, sorrel, and white horses. 9 Then I said, ‘What are these, my lord?’ The angel who talked with me said to me, ‘I will show you what they are.’ 10 So the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered, ‘These are they whom the Lord has sent to patrol the earth.’ 11 And they answered the angel of the Lord who was standing among the myrtle trees, and said, ‘We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth remains at rest.’ 12 Then the angel of the Lord said, ‘O Lord of hosts, how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which you have been angry these seventy years?’ 13 And the Lord answered gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me. 14 So the angel who talked with me said to me, ‘Cry out, Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. 15 And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little, they furthered the disaster. 16 Therefore, thus says the Lord, I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy; my house shall be built in it, declares the Lord of hosts, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. 17 Cry out again, Thus says the Lord of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.’”
18 And I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, four horns! 19 And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these?” And he said to me, “These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” 20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 And I said, “What are these coming to do?” He said, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one raised his head. And these have come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter it.”
- ProphetZechariah’s account of the vision of the horseman among the myrtle trees (7-17) brings out a picture of the comfort of the nations, in stark contrast to the desolation of the City of Jerusalem and the Temple. In the vision, the plea of the Angel of the Lord was answered by God; God commanded the prophet to declare His promise: He would show mercy, the Temple would be rebuilt, and Jerusalem would be restored to its former prosperity (16-17).
- The rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem was a great and arduous task for the people at the time; but God promised that He would do it Himself (16). What assurance is more reliable and stronger than God’s promises? When we are hurt and the burdens of our lives are heavy, as long as we turn to God, He will heal and comfort us.
- In the vision of the four craftsmen defeating the four horns (18-21), God revealed that He would personally fulfill the works He promised. The “horn” in the Bible often represents the “strength” and “power” of a nation, ruler, or the forces that disperse Judah. These four craftsmen were the nations God used to overthrow Israel’s enemies, and God raised them up to punish the nations that oppressed Israel.
Dear God! Your promises are real, and Your works are wondrous beyond my measure. You have not forgotten my plight. When I am hurt and the burden of life is heavy, as long as I turn to You, You will surely heal and comfort me.
Yes and Amen – youtu.be/1OUZtPjSR54