“Of all the prophets who wrote after the exile, Zechariah is my favorite,” says John Perkins, a leader in a ministry to marginalized people. ”
He understands the problems of my neighborhood. And he says God is going to fix the mess we’re in. All I have to do is join up and be a part of what God is doing.”
This week’s study draws from John’s insights found in chapter six of Welcoming Justice .
Key Study Passage:
1. What does verse 2 tell us about God’s relationship with Jerusalem? How can this be applied to his relationship to the church? (See Ephesians 5:25-29.)
2. What did Zechariah mean when he said Jerusalem “will be called the Faithful City” (v. 3)? How had Jerusalem been unfaithful? (See Isaiah 1:21-23.) In what ways has the church been unfaithful?
3. In verses 4 through 15, what do we learn about God’s desire for Israel? How do the truths in these verses apply to the church?
4. According to verses 16 through 19, how should God’s people act?
5. What happens when God’s people live in the way they’re supposed to? (See vv. 20-23; Matthew 5:14-15.)
Spend Time in Prayer: Ask God to show you how to respond to the injustice and inequality you see around you; spend time interceding specifically for the poor and disenfranchised who live in your .
Promised Blessings for Jerusalem
1 Then another message came to me from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies: 2 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem!
3 “And now the LORD says: I am returning to Mount Zion, and I will live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City; the mountain of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will be called the Holy Mountain.
4 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem’s streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares. 5 And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play.
6 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
7 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: You can be sure that I will rescue my people from the east and from the west. 8 I will bring them home again to live safely in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be faithful and just toward them as their God.
9 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Be strong and finish the task! Ever since the laying of the foundation of the Temple of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, you have heard what the prophets have been saying about completing the building. 10 Before the work on the Temple began, there were no jobs and no money to hire people or animals. No traveler was safe from the enemy, for there were enemies on all sides. I had turned everyone against each other.
11 “But now I will not treat the remnant of my people as I treated them before, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 12 For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. 13 Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!
14 “For this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: I was determined to punish you when your ancestors angered me, and I did not change my mind, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 15 But now I am determined to bless Jerusalem and the people of Judah. So don’t be afraid. 16 But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. 17 Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things, says the LORD.”
18 Here is another message that came to me from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 19 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept in early summer, midsummer, autumn, and winter are now ended. They will become festivals of joy and celebration for the people of Judah. So love truth and peace.
20 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: People from nations and cities around the world will travel to Jerusalem. 21 The people of one city will say to the people of another, ‘Come with us to Jerusalem to ask the LORD to bless us. Let’s worship the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. I’m determined to go.’ 22 Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the LORD of Heaven’s Armies and to ask for his blessing.
23 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: In those days ten men from different nations and languages of the world will clutch at the sleeve of one Jew. And they will say, ‘Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'”
Prayer for the Week: Heavenly Father, show me what it means to have authentic relationships within your diverse body of believers; give me deeper insights into my prejudices; make me a catalyst for peace and reconciliation.