“The LORD was very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.”’ But they did not listen or give heed to Me,” declares the LORD. “Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, overtake your fathers? Then they repented and said, ‘As the LORD of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so He has dealt with us.’”’”
Friday’s Bible reading is Zechariah 1–7. Zechariah was one of the postexilic prophets and there are precise time references in the book. As I suggested with Haggai, compare the opening verses of Zechariah with these verses from Ezra:
“Then work on the house of God in Jerusalem ceased, and it was stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
“When the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the 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 the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them supporting them.”
Haggai and Zechariah were contemporaries; Haggai began prophesying in the sixth month of that year, while Zechariah began his prophecy in the eighth month and continued over the next two years (Zechariah 7:1). Gleason Archer comments:
“The first verse [1:1] presents Zechariah as the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo, who was undoubtedly the same priest mentioned in Nehemiah 12:4 as a contemporary of Zerubbabel. In Zechariah 2:4 the prophet is spoken of as a youth (na‘ar, Hebrew). He would probably have been a young man at the time he cooperated with Haggai in the rebuilding campaign of 520 B.C. …the reference in Matthew 23:35…seems to indicate that he was martyred by mob action in the temple grounds…”1
Dr. Archer divides the book into two sections, the messages given during (chapters 1–8) and those given after the building of the temple (chapters 9–14). Today’s reading contains the first, second and the beginning of the third messages given during the building: “call for national repentance, 1:1–6…the eight visions, 1:7–6:15…the third message, 7:1–8:23…The query about extra fasts, 7:1–3…The fourfold answer (obedience more important than fasts), 7:4–8:23.”
As you read the prophets remember to look at what you learn from their words about who God is and who man is.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publication
1, 2Gleason L. Archer, Jr., “Postexilic Prophets: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi,” A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, pp. 425, 424.
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter