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READ IT

Read: Zechariah 1

Today we begin a new journey through the book of Zechariah.

And I’ve got to be honest with you. It’s not the easiest book in the Bible to read — mostly because it’s highly prophetic and poetic in nature. Remember the second half of the book of Daniel? That’s what the whole book of Zechariah is like.

It’s tempting to choose one of the easier books in the Bible. But this summer and fall has been an exploration of Israel’s exile (in Daniel) and their return to Jerusalem (in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Haggai).

So it’s only fitting that we explore Zechariah as well. Because he served alongside Haggai in his prophetic ministry.

And that’s what I love so much about the post-exilic books of the Bible. They demonstrate ministry in partnerships and friendships.

Daniel had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Zerubbabel had Joshua.
Ezra had Nehemiah.
Haggai had Zechariah.

No one can ever say that we are called to do ministry alone.

Ministry happens in community.

So when Zerubbabel and Joshua led the first exile home from Babylon, Haggai preached a strong word from the Lord that the people were to finish the temple. Zechariah’s message was just as strong, but he also encouraged the people with good news about their future.

While the book of Zechariah is complex with prophetic imagery, the entire book can be summed up in this key verse:

“So tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord of Armies says: Return to me — this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies — and I will return to you,’ says the Lord of Armies.” (Zechariah 1:3)

Return to me and I will return to you.

This is what the Lord wants to tell his people. This is their opportunity to live differently than their fathers and grandfathers. This is their chance to repent and return to the ways God has established for his people through his covenant.

Despite the devastation Jerusalem — and the entire nation — had endured. Their story wasn’t over yet.

God spoke encouragement to his people through Zechariah.

And that’s the message I want to be known for as well. Someone who communicates encouragement. That no matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done, God always holds out the invitation for us to return to him, and he promises to return to us.

WRITE IT

In a journal or notebook, write Zechariah 1:3.

“So tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord of Armies says: Return to me — this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies — and I will return to you,’ says the Lord of Armies.”

Or write any passage from today’s reading that stands out to you.

PRAY IT

Thank you, Lord, that you are the same yesterday, today, and forever. The same invitation and promise you gave the people of Israel is true for us as well. If we return to you, you will return to us. Show me, Lord, the areas in my life where I need to repent and turn to you. Help me to look to you as the author of my story. For with you, all things are possible. In your name I pray, amen.

Denise J. Hughes

A lover of words and the Word. Author of #DeeperWaters and the #WordWriters Bible studies.

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