Book of Zechariah: Visions of Return

Written by Paul J. Bucknell on November, 13, 2019

Zechariah 1:1-6 God’s Call to Return with Bible Study Questions

“In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo saying, 2 “The LORD was very angry with your fathers. 3 “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.

4 “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. 5 “Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 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.’”’” (Zechariah 1:1-6 Nasb)

Observations of Zechariah 1:1-6

1. Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, received a vision second-year of the reign of Darius. (1:1)

2. The Lord became angry with the Jewish fathers (former leaders) and called their sons (the current generation) to return back to him that He, the Lord, might return to them. (1:2-3)

3. The Lord used His prophets to warn their fathers of their evil deeds, but they didn’t listen. Now they are dead. (1:4-5)

4. God’s judgment according to His Word came upon them; they realized it too late. Their disobedience made this judgment necessary. (1:6)

Interpretations of Zechariah 1:1-6

1. During the second year of Persian king Darius’ reign in 520 BC, Zechariah began his ministry to exhort the Jews to complete building the temple (Haggai 1:1).

2. The Israelites’ fathers and leaders committed sins, creating a great gap between God and them. They need to return to God that He might return favorably to them.

3. The Israelites are here warned not to be like the exiled sons who suffered greatly due to their stubbornness. The prophetic message again creates a crossroads where they can leave the former path.

4. Though warning the people, the Lord finally needed to judge the Israelite nation. They finally repented, but it was too late to discover God’s blessings.

Return to Me, and I will return to you! Zechariah 1:3

An Introduction: Come back, come back

God calls these wayward Jews back to himself. It is an old story, though a new generation. God is truly gracious and forgiving. God’s warning, however, again has little effect. The judgment warnings increase, but the prodigal son remains in his foolishness. His people go astray, and yet the Father graciously calls them to come back again. God hopes for their return.

A. The Judgment of God (1:1-2)

1. Back from the exile Persia

2. God’s anger

3. The judgment is real

B. The Call of God (1:3-4)

1. Initiated by God

2. “Return to God” and from evil ways

C. The Persuasiveness of God (1:5-6)

1. How does the death of their fathers profit them?

2. The judgment sound is warned

3. They also are in great danger

Observations on Zechariah 1:1-6

Obeying God’s promise is never easy. Life is difficult enough without the challenge of “faith”. Things don’t seem as if they will get resolved. We might be embarrassed about trying. Why do we dare harden our hearts to God in our distressful situations? God’s people must not store up wrath but faith.

We must move forward in God’s love—despite our fears. God sometimes needs to teach a hard lesson so that we can learn. We foolishly think we control these matters of the heart! Am I to teach order with my disorder, or love with hate? These unacceptable means only exacerbate the already difficult situation.

In Zechariah (1: 5-6), we see the first sign of stubbornness. They were unwilling to build the temple. Indeed, they faced insurmountable walls and were discouraged. They, however, looked to themselves and refused to trust the Lord to help them rebuild the temple. The Lord didn’t want the temple rebuilt apart from faith. Faith and trust are the roots of all true worship. Seventeen years would pass. Would the future be any different?

Application

God graciously reaches out to the condemned and broken nation, calling for repentance and promising restoration to those who incline their hearts to Him. How do I respond to God’s reaching out to me?

Summary

The darker the situation, the more persuasive God’s call to repentance. God warns them, of course, but they were stubbornly evil. No one but the Lord could project its end would be so bad. Now all of them saw that they were just broken pieces, shattered under God’s wrath. They went back to this city of stubble. They gave up 17 long years. But God called Haggai and Zechariah to bring his tender “Call of Hope” to them. If they would but humbly draw near to God, He would return with all his abounding promises.

Do you hear this call of His? Listen! His call sounds forth persuasive words to bring you, and I deeper into the love and promises of God.

Zechariah 1:1-6 Bible Study Questions

  1.   Read Zechariah 1:1-6 and summarize the main message.
  2.   What do we know about Zechariah from these verses?
  3.   How did God describe His relationship with His people in 1:2? How might that come about?
  4.   What is it that God is striving to do here, such as in verse 3?
  5.   So how does that work, “Return to Me” and “God will return to them?” (1:3)
  6.   How many times is “the LORD of hosts” used in these six verses? What does it mean? (Look otherwise as needed.) Why does He so emphasize His character through this phrase?
  7.   Quickly scan through Zechariah to find out where the people of God were at in Zechariah’s day.
  8.   Read 1:4-5. What was the problem the Lord points out? Did they have God’s Word? Why the problem?
  9.   Does this problem exist today? Explain.
  10.   Try to find an area in your life that you hear God but don’t change according to His expectations. Repent and make your heart more sensitive to God by changing!
  11.   The church is weak in many aspects, but could we say that God still calls and reaches out to them? Defend your answer by these verses.

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