Focal Passage: Zechariah 8:1-8; 9:9-12
If the wind is right in downtown Jacksonville, Fla., you can smell the Maxwell plant roasting coffee from Bay Street to the Florida Theater on East Forsyth Street.
I usually drive through that area on the way to my parents’ house, and by then, I’m travel-worn and tired. But the simple sight of the lit blue arch of Main Street Bridge and the smell of fresh coffee is enough to wake me up.
When Zechariah prophesied to Israel, the people of God were weary. Seventy years of exile were over, and the captives in Babylon were finally allowed to return home. But Jerusalem was in ruins, and the temple was gone.
The promises of God’s blessing must have seemed distant. Where was the Messiah?
What do we do now?
Because of their sin, God judged them through exile. Rather than turn back to Him, the Israelites continued in their wickedness and idolatry.
They refused to listen when God spoke to them through His prophets – even when He warned them. But God kept His promise to deliver them. Seventy years they spent in exile as He said they would, but God provided for their return.
In Zechariah’s time, though given the chance to rebuild their nation as a people faithful to their God, they chose to build up their own houses, as Haggai says, and neglected the house of the Lord.
So God sent His Word to remind the people of His promises, to show them visions of their true home: the good Kingdom He was preparing.
In humility and victory, the Messiah would bring salvation, deliverance, freedom and peace to the world. He would establish righteousness and justice and a people of restoration. God was near. The Messiah was coming.
We know God kept His promise: Jesus came and inaugurated His Kingdom. We also know by God’s Word that soon He’s coming back. So we continue His work, here and among all nations, and we don’t stop until Christ returns.