Saturday after the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Zechariah 8:1-23 (NKJV)
1 Again the word of the LORD of hosts came, saying, 2 “Thus says the LORD of hosts:
‘I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; With great fervor I am zealous for her.’
3 “Thus says the LORD: ‘I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’
4 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age.
5 ‘The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.’
6 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, will it also be marvelous in My eyes?’ Says the LORD of hosts.
7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west;
8 ‘I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.’
9 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Let your hands be strong, you who have been hearing in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who spoke in the day the foundation was laid for the house of the LORD of hosts, that the temple might be built.
10 ‘For before these days there were no wages for man nor any hire for beast; There was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came in; For I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor.
11 ‘But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the LORD of hosts.
12 ‘For the seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give its fruit, the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew—I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these.
13 ‘And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, let your hands be strong.’
14 “For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Just as I determined to punish you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘And I would not relent,
15 ‘So again in these days I am determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear.
16 ‘These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;
17 ‘Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; And do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,’ says the LORD.”
18 Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, 19 “Thus says the LORD of hosts:
‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’
20 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities;
21 ‘The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also.”
22 ‘Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.’
23 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”‘”
In this one passage we see a repeated and bold attestation to the source of Zechariah’s words. Twelve times we hear the phrase “thus says the Lord” or “the word of the Lord came to me.” The prophet is leaving no doubt as to the ultimate author of this book. Repeatedly, throughout Scripture, we see similar claims as the various authors remind the reader that this is no ordinary book, but “the very power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16).
With such inherent power and Divine will, our God greatly desires for His book to have its way with us, as He desires all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4). Zechariah describes God’s earnest desire this way: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; with great fervor I am zealous for her.'” God is deadly serious when it comes to the First Commandment. He wants no other gods before Him. God wants us all to Himself because He knows we’re only safe with Him. Even when we turn away from Him, the Good Shepherd searches for us, eager to bring us back to His fold. As Zechariah puts it: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.'”
Prayer: Thou on my head in early youth didst smile, and though rebellious and perverse meanwhile, Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee. On to the close, O Lord, abide with me (TLH 552:5); In Jesus Christ. Amen.