Read Zechariah 1.
What is the essential message here? Focus especially on Zechariah 1:3. What is the Lord saying to the people?
The return from the exile to Babylon sparked joy in the hearts of the remnant people. But the return also caused anxiety. Would they be safe and secure in their land, or would enemies come again to harass them? Had God forgiven their past unfaithfulness, or would He continue their punishment? What did the future hold for God’s chosen people and for the nations?
In his vision, Zechariah saw the angel of the Lord move to intercede for Judah. He began with the question, “How long?” In the Bible, this question is often used as an expression of people’s distress and appeal to the Lord for help (Ps. 74:10, Isa. 6:11, Dan. 8:13). The answer to the question came directly through the interpreting angel, who then passed it on to the prophet. It contained words that promised God’s kindness and comfort.
Zechariah was told to proclaim that their Lord was very jealous for Jerusalem (Zech. 1:14). Jealousy can have negative connotations, but in the Bible it can also be an expression of God’s love. God loved His people and expected them to be faithful. In contrast to His love toward Jerusalem, the angel said that the Lord was angry with the nations that had treated His people so harshly. The full charge against the nations was that they added to the calamity of the divine discipline by going too far in their harsh treatment of captives.
Zechariah 1:14 acknowledged God as having been angry, but He promised to repay with comfort. His purpose, which the prophet was commissioned to proclaim, was to return to Jerusalem with compassion. The Lord would comfort Zion (see Isa. 40:1), while His anger would be directed to His enemies. Jerusalem was going to be restored, and it would again be the dwelling place of the Lord.
Look again at Zechariah 1:3. How does one “return” (NIV) unto the Lord? In what ways is this a call for a restored personal relationship between God and His people? How do we (or do we?) “return” unto the Lord every day?