Reading: Zechariah 8 and Psalm 30

By Pastor Alex

“‘It will come about that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you that you may become a blessing. Do not fear; let your hands be strong.’”

- Zechariah 8:13

I want to share with you about building our lives with hope in God’s promises. As Christians, we have a hope that cannot be extinguished. This hope is not founded in ourselves or our own ability to repair and fix our own lives, families, circumstances, etc. Our hope is rather in what Christ has done for us and what He can do to redeem these things. God has made promises to you and me. The enemy of our souls cannot erase or nullify God’s promise. “It is written,” as Jesus said. Therefore, what the enemy seeks to do is distract us and discourage us from hoping and believing in God’s promises; he works through deception, discouragement, distraction, and disbelief. But God’s promises remain steadfast and are available by faith to you and me! Hallelujah.

When God speaks, it changes everything. It is light out of darkness. When the remnant of Israel returned to Jerusalem and had laid the foundation of the temple, they must have been overwhelmed. The work was daunting, the splendor and affluence of King Solomon was history, and their future was uncertain. In fact, they had just come from a 70-year period when their entire sense of having any future in the promised land was dashed before their eyes, because of their sin. Into this moment God speaks: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of age. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets’” (Zec. 8:4-5). As God’s words are received, suddenly a hope for the future materializes. Suddenly, there is a vision of God’s faithfulness, and they have newfound strength to obey the command, “Do not fear; let your hands be strong.”

Where are you in your walk with Christ? Is there victory on all sides, with a sense of going from glory to glory with God? Praise the Lord if that’s the case. But perhaps you find yourself overwhelmed as the remnant of Israel was. Perhaps your life has not much to show but the foundation. The Apostle Paul writes, “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). Perhaps you have this foundation of Christ and Christ alone in your life, but there have been failures and discouragement and some things are in shambles. Reminded today of God’s faithfulness and His redemptive plan, will you avail yourself of the promises? Will you receive that strength from the Holy Spirit to build on this foundation the Lord has laid in your life? He says, “‘These are the things which you should do: speak truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates. Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,’ declares the LORD” (Zec. 8:16-17). As the Holy Spirit gives you hope for the future, I pray you will be strengthened to build. Let’s begin to obey God in building a life that is pleasing to Him, founded on the Rock of Jesus Christ, and shaped by the blueprint of His promises.

“You have turned my mourning into dancing;

You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,

That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.

O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

- Psalm 30:11-12

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Daily reading: Psalm 29/Zechariah 7

Hosts refers to armies or large numbers of people organized to achieve a common goal.

To ascribe glory means to give Jesus what He alone deserves.

When we read Psalm 29 there is a grandness that the writer is awed by. There is a power that is beyond human kind and there is a reverence, exalting, and beauty we see in the worship from a surrendered heart.

Psalm 29:1-2 “Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory [b]due to His name; Worship the Lord in [c]holy array.”

If we’re to give strength to Jesus that he alone deserves, what does that look like? He obviously doesn’t need our strength to make the world go round or do all the mighty things He does. We know that’s not how God works… so what is this strength?

a. Is it recognizing Him to be the only true giver of life and strength to our souls and not forgetting to thank God?

b. Is it beyond recognizing the strength the Lord has given and actually utilizing each ounce of strength that he has given us to exalt him because it’s his strength that he’s given to us?

Please answer what you think it is and let's discuss these verses today.

Psalm 29:3-5

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The Lord is over [d]many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful, The voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; Yes, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

Have you ever experienced the powerful voice of the Lord that compels you forward into something that you would never have done? If you’re comfortable, please share your experience.

What did God tell Zechariah that he wanted done? What about not done?

Zechariah 7:9-14 9 “Thus has the Lord of hosts said, 'Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’”

Let’s pray and ask Holy Spirit what this means for us individually and the church. Are there areas we are grieving the Holy Spirit? Don’t go off of justification or thoughts in your mind; let Holy Spirit reveal.

11 “But they refused…turned… stopped their ears…. 12 They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit…”

Let’s not be like this, but be abandoned in willingness to listen and follow what He says. The contrast between obedience and blessing vs disobedience and trouble can be found at the end of each chapter. In Zechariah, the voice of the Lord was ignored and so “wrath came"; “'as He called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen,' says the Lord of hosts'" I scattered them...for they made the pleasant land desolate.”

In Psalm 20:11 ”The Lord will give strength to His people.

The Lord will bless His people with peace.”

This is for the obedient who turn their ear toward the Lord and follow.

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Reading: Zechariah 6, Psalm 28

By Pastor Jason Walsh

“Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor and shall sit and rule on his throne.” (Zechariah 6:12-13)

The legend of King Arthur has been retold many times in literature and music. One of the main themes is the establishment of a just and righteous kingdom. Against a society of warring states, King Arthur tried to establish a united England. His knights of the Round Table lived by the code of chivalry that obligated them to defend the weak, to show mercy to their enemies, and to use their strength for the cause of goodness.

Those who are familiar with this legend know that King Arthur ultimately failed in his quest. But the legends also say that one day the King will return!

This vision Zechariah had is no legend, rather it is a vision God gave to Zechariah of a just and righteous kingdom which is shared by the biblical prophets. One day, God will send a perfect King whose kingdom will never fail. That’s the central theme we find in today’s reading. The symbolic action narrated here follows the eight night visions we have read throughout the book of Zechariah thus far. 

God instructed the prophet to collect gold and silver from three donors (probably lately-returned, prominent exiles who wanted to help rebuild the Temple), have a craftsman named Josiah (or Hen) fashion a crown, and place it on the head of the high priest, Joshua. Afterwards, the crown was to be kept as a memorial of this prophecy.

What did this action illustrate and foretell? It spoke of the future Advent of Messiah, the Branch, King Jesus in whom the offices of king and priest would be united! This prophecy stretches to the New Testament and is spoken of by the writer of Hebrews who said, “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever” (Hebrews 7:1–3).

In the words of Haggai, “the desired of all nations will come” (Haggai 2:7). He will “build the temple of the Lord,” that is, establish worship of the one true God throughout the earth (Zechariah 6:13). God promised, “Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the Lord” (Zechariah 6:15), meaning that Gentiles will also be involved in these events! 

God held back the opposition in Zechariah’s day in order that the work of temple rebuilding could be completed. Ultimately, this vision is also being fulfilled in the new covenant era (our lives today). The Lord remains sovereign, and in a sense, is restraining His enemies so that He can build His church. Though our foes may at times seem to gain the upper hand in some places, their efforts will ultimately prove to be unsuccessful. Christ will build His temple, and He will finish the job no matter the opposition!

While the grace of God still exists, you have hope!  While the grace of God still exists, America has hope!  Our Lord remains on the throne and will complete what He started in you and in His Church!

“The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed” (Psalm 28).

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