A Future Perspective
Read Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
When you are feeling discouraged, how does setting your sights on the future encourage you to keep going?
When I set a personal goal for myself, it is easy for me to get sidelined by everyday distractions and discouragement. If I’m not seeing the results I want right away, it is hard to stay motivated to keep at it. In those moments, I have to look to the future to remember why I set the goal for myself in the first place. Knowing that my dedication today will positively influence my tomorrow encourages me to keep at it. I have to maintain a future perspective to stay faithful in the present.
Zechariah was a prophet sent to Jerusalem with a mission very similar to Haggai’s. God used Haggai’s message to rebuke the people for their sins and to get them to start rebuilding the temple. God used Zechariah to motivate the people to keep it up by looking to the future. He gave them “gracious and comforting words” (Zechariah 1:13) instead of a scolding. Even though they were feeling discouraged, he told them that God would remember His covenant with them and keep His promises. In fact, Zechariah’s name means “God Remembers.” He prophesied around 520-470 B.C. while the temple was being rebuilt. The most encouraging aspect of his message was that they had to rebuild the temple because it needed to be ready for the coming Messiah! Zechariah gave the people hope in the future as well as in the present.
The book opens with God calling Zechariah to urge the people to repent by reminding them of the sins of their forefathers. Then, Zechariah is given a series of eight visions. These visions demonstrated that God was not done with Israel. In the visions, Zechariah saw that God was going to rebuild, protect, and glorify Jerusalem, and judge individual, national, and global sin, including judgment toward Israel’s enemies. But the most encouraging visions concerned the coming of “the Branch” in chapters 3 and 6. These visions pointed to both the first and second coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He would cleanse them of their sin, restore them to Himself, and also rule and reign over them as Priest and King.
Then, Zechariah moved to four messages to the people from God. First, he called out the false motives and emptiness of their religious rituals. Second, he reminded them that their forefathers had hard hearts toward God and had rejected Him. As a result, they experienced God’s wrath. But, in the next message, he comforted them with an assurance of future peace and restoration. Finally, he assured them that joy and glad feasting is in Judah’s future.
Last, Zechariah shared two oracles, or burdens, that focused on the first and second coming of Christ. The Scarlet Thread of redemption is all over these last 6 chapters. Jesus, Messiah, is seen as a King, Shepherd, Warrior, Savior, and Ruler. His humility, love, grace, power, righteousness, and holiness are demonstrated in Zechariah’s oracles. Today’s verses predict that Jesus will come as a humble king who will bring salvation, riding on a donkey. Of course, this was fulfilled in what we often call the “Triumphal Entry” on Palm Sunday. This event is mentioned in all four Gospels. All of Zechariah’s prophecies concerning Christ’s first advent came true.
Zechariah explicitly predicted that Jesus would be “pierced” (Zechariah 12:10) and that the Shepherd would be struck and the flock would scatter and be divided. Even so, a remnant would be tested and refined but preserved (Zechariah 13:7-9). He also pointed to the “day of the LORD” and the everlasting kingdom of the Messiah. He made many predictions concerning Christ’s second advent and we are waiting expectantly for those to be fulfilled.
Friends, I know many of you are feeling stuck and discouraged spiritually. Like Zechariah, I encourage you to look toward the future. We have been assured that just as Christ came the first time, He is coming again! His enemies will be destroyed and death will be no more. He will reign forever. He will call us His people and He will be our God (Zechariah 13:9). Keep pursuing Christ. Eternal peace and joy are coming!
Lord, thank You for the reassurance that comfort, peace, and joy is in our future. In this world, it is easy to get discouraged but when I focus on the promises You have made concerning the future, my spirit is renewed and I am motivated to keep living for You. Help me stay focused and faithful to doing Your will. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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