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LESSON 2 - RETURN TO ME (ZECHARIAH 1:1-6, 12-17)

INTRODUCTION: LAST WEEK ED GAVE YOU AN OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK OF
ZECHARIAH, THIS WEEK WE START OUR VERSE BY VERSE STUDY OF IT.  JUST TO
ENCOURAGE YOU ABOUT OUR STUDY, WAS IN A BIBLE STORE THIS WEEK
LOOKING
FOR COMMENTARIES ABOUT ZECHARIAH TO HELP ME WITH MY TEACHING.  TO
MY SURPRISE THE YOUNG CLERK WHO WAS HELPING ME STARTED TELLING ME
WHAT A REMARKABLE BOOK ZECHARIAH WAS.  SHE ASKED ME IF I HAD READ
IT,
AND WHEN I SAID THAT I THOUGHT I HAD, BUT COULDN'T REMEMBER WHEN,
SHE
SUGGESTED THAT I HAD NOT READ IT, BECAUSE IF I HAD I WOULD HAVE
CLEARLY
REMEMBERED IT.  WELL, WITH THAT RECOMMENDATION, LETS GET ON WITH IT.

I. BACKGROUND.
     A. READ ZECHARIAH 1:1-3.
     B. LETS BE SURE THAT WE ARE ALL UP TO SPEED ON THE BACKGROUND.
LETS REVIEW. ANYONE KNOW THE BACKGROUND?  WHAT DOES REFERENCE TO
DARIUS TELL US? (YOU REMEMBER HOW THE JEWS WERE TAKEN INTO
CAPTIVITY
BY THE BABYLONIANS.  THE STORY OF DAVID AND HIS THREE FRIENDS COMES
FROM THIS PERIOD OF TIME. AFTER THE MEDO-PERSIANS CONQUERED BAB., THE
JEWS WERE ALLOWED TO GO HOME AND CYRUS ISSUED A DECREE TO REBUILD
THE
TEMPLE.  ZECHARIAH WAS ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO RETURNED TO JERUSALEM.
REBUILDING HAD STOPPED AND DARIUS, ANOTHER PERSIAN KING, HELPED GET
IT
STARTED AGAIN.)

II. SIN PROBLEM.
     A. READ V. 4. IT SAYS THAT GOD WAS ANGRY WITH THE FOREFATHERS.
     B. WHY DOES GOD START OFF LIKE THAT WITH HIS MESSAGE?
          1. ISN'T THIS ANCIENT HISTORY?
     C. WHAT, EXACTLY, FROM HISTORY DID GOD WANT THE PEOPLE TO NOTE?
READ V.5&6. (THAT WHAT GOD SAYS COMES TO PASS.)
     D. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT GOD MENTIONED THAT THE PROPHETS WERE
NO LONGER ALIVE? (THIS IS BIGGER THAN THE PROPHETS.  DON'T BLAME THE
PROPHETS AND THINK THAT THEY COULD CONTROL THIS.  THIS MESSAGE
COMES
FROM GOD.)
     E. WHAT ABOUT THE PART ABOUT GOD BEING ANGRY?
          1. DO YOU SEE GOD AS HAVING EMOTIONS LIKE THAT?
          2. OR IT THIS JUST THE ONLY WAY THAT ZECHARIAH KNEW HOW TO
DESCRIBE IT?  (WE SEE IN THE BIBLE THAT GOD HAS A PERSONALITY.  HE CAN
BE
ANGRY, AND HE WAS.)
     F. THIS GETS US INTO A DISCUSSION OF THE SIN PROBLEM-A PROBLEM WE
HAVE.
     G. WHAT WAS THE LORD ANGRY ABOUT? WHAT WERE THE TWO SIN
PROBLEMS THAT THE FOREFATHERS HAD?
( THE PEOPLE WERE INVOLVED IN EVIL PRACTICES AND THEY DID NOT PAY
ATTENTION.)
     H. WHICH IS WORSE? (REV.3:15)
( DISOBEDIENCE IS A ROUTINE PROBLEM FOR GOD.  HE HAS A GOOD SOLUTION
FOR
THAT. WHEN THE PEOPLE DISOBEYED HE SENT PROPHETS TO WARN.  WHAT
REALLY IS A PROBLEM, AND MADE GOD ANGRY WAS THAT V.4 "THEY WOULD
NOT
LISTEN OR PAY ATTENTION TO ME.")
     I. DO WE WORK MORE ON THE OBEDIENCE ISSUE THAN ON THE LISTENING
ISSUE?
          1. ON WHICH ARE WE MORE VULNERABLE?
          2. DESCRIBE FOR ME THE KIND OF PERSON WHO DOES NOT LISTEN TO
GOD?
          3. WHY DO YOU THINK THEY NOT LISTEN? (THINK THAT THEY
ALREADY KNOW. SELF ASSURED. A LITTLE RELIGION.)
          4. LETS TURN AHEAD TO V.11 AND 14-15. READ. IT SAYS THAT THE
NATIONS ARE AT REST AND IN PEACE AND THAT THEY FEEL SECURE. ISN'T THAT
GOOD? (THIS IS WHAT GETS GOD UPSET.  THEY FEEL SECURE.  SECURE FROM HIS
PEOPLE AND SECURE IN THEIR WAYS.)

III. LISTENING - RETURN TO HIM.
     A. OK, SO YOU'RE LISTENING.  WHAT IS THE FORMULA FOR COMING BACK TO
GOD THAT WE FIND IN V.3? (RETURN TO ME AND I WILL RETURN TO YOU.)
     B. DOES THIS MEAN THAT WE HAVE TO COME FIRST?  WHICH COMES FIRST?
GOD'S RETURN TO HIS PEOPLE OR THEIR RETURN TO HIM?
          1. WHO ACTUALLY CAME FIRST IN THIS EXAMPLE THAT WE ARE
READING? (GOD CAME.  HE GAVE A MESSAGE TO ZECHARIAH THAT SAID,
RETURN
TO ME.)
     C. WHY DOES GOD EVEN SAY, "RETURN TO ME?" IS THIS LIKE TWO PEOPLE
WHO HAVE HAD AN ARGUMENT, AND NO ONE WANTS TO APOLOGIZE FIRST?
(GOD
RUNS A VOLUNTARY UNIVERSE.  HE WANTS TO COME, BUT HE WILL NOT FORCE
HIMSELF ON US.)
     D. READ V. 6B. SO THE PEOPLE DID RETURN TO GOD.

IV. AFTER THE RETURN.
     A. THE PEOPLE HAVE RETURNED.  I WANT YOU TO NOTE THE WORDS THAT
ARE USED BY GOD: V.13 "KIND AND COMFORTING WORDS"; V.14 "JEALOUS FOR
JERUSALEM"; V.17 "COMFORT"
          1. DOES THIS TEND TO PROVE THAT WHEN WE ARE GOOD THAT GOOD
THINGS HAPPEN TO US?
          2. IS THERE ANY WAY TO DRAW ANOTHER CONCLUSION FROM THESE
WORDS AND THIS SEQUENCE? (YES. THESE ARE VERY HUMAN, PERSONAL
TERMS:
ANGER, JEALOUSY, KINDNESS, COMFORT. BECAUSE GOD IS PERSONALLY
INVOLVED
WITH US AND EVEN ANGRY AND JEALOUS WHEN WE TURN AWAY, HE
OBVIOUSLY
IS WITH US EVEN WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN.  HE WOULD SEEM TO BE THERE
TO
(AT LEAST) EVENTUALLY TURN THINGS AROUND.)

V. NEXT WEEK: WE WILL LOOK AT SOME VISIONS OF VICTORY THAT ZECHARIAH
SAW.