Lesson 9

A Brand Plucked From the Fire

(Zechariah 1-3)
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Introduction: The news this week is that the head of the International Monetary Fund, and the man leading in the polls for the office of President of France, sexually attacked a woman cleaning his hotel room. Assuming this is true, how does such a thing happen? How can such a sophisticated, important, refined man engage in such horrible behavior? Can we safely laugh and point? Or, are you and I capable of such things? God's answer is "yes," this should be a moment of truth for all of us. In Romans 3:10-18 Paul quotes the Old Testament statement that we are all "worthless." No one is righteous. We are all destined to burn ( Malachi 4:1). Our lesson this week is about being plucked from that fire. That sounds like an important goal! Let's dive into our Bible study and find out more.

  1. The Road to God's House


    1. Read Zechariah 1:1. Who is Darius? (Read Daniel 5:30-6:2. He is the King of the Medes who defeated Babylon.)


    2. Read Zechariah 1:2-6. What happened when God was angry with their ancestors? (They were taken into captivity by Babylon and that captivity continued with the Medes/Persians.)


      1. How many of us, because of poor choices, find that we are slaves to sin?


    3. Read Haggai 1:1. Notice the time frame. How does it compare to Zechariah 1:1? (It is the same year! We have two prophets of God giving messages to His people.)


    4. Read Haggai 1:2-6. What pattern are we seeing in the messages of these two prophets? (When we pay no attention to God, we have problems. It is hard to prosper.)


    5. The last part of Zechariah 1:6 reports that God's people acknowledged that they deserved the bad things that they received - and they repented of their sins. Read Zechariah 1:16-17. What is God's attitude towards us when we repent? (He wants to show us mercy. He wants to bless us.)


    6. What is God's specific goal for Jerusalem? (Both the prophecies of Zechariah and Haggai speak about rebuilding God's house (the temple). God will join His people)


  2. Entering God's House


    1. Read Zechariah 2:10-13. When verse 11 says "many nations" to whom is it referring? (God says that God's people are not simply the Hebrews. Rather, all sorts of nations and races will "be joined with the Lord in that day and will become My people." We can enter God's house and live with Him!)


      1. The question is, How do we enter God's house?


    2. Read Zechariah 3:1. Is Joshua a good or bad guy? (Read Ezra 3:2-4. Joshua is not only the High Priest, he is reinstating the sacrifices and the feasts as directed by Moses. He is truly a good guy.)


      1. If he is a good guy, why is Satan accusing him? (Read Hebrews 9:7. The High Priest carried the sins of the people. In essence, we are being accused by Satan.)


    3. Read Zechariah 3:2-3. Is Satan right to accuse Joshua? (Yes. Not only does he have "filthy" clothes on, but his hair is on fire. (Well, some part of him is on fire.))


      1. What does being "filthy" and on fire symbolize? (Read Revelation 20:15. Joshua is sinful - very sinful. He is close to being burned up for his sins.)


      2. Is there any argument that Satan is not right to accuse Joshua? (Satan is much worse! However, Satan is not on trial.)


      3. How does God react to these allegations against an obviously dirty guy? (God rebukes Satan!)


      4. Think about this a moment. If this is some sort of trial situation, and God is the Judge and Satan the accuser, why would Satan accuse Joshua if he is going to be rebuked for it?(I doubt that Satan thinks he is winning argument points with God. The question is whether he is winning argument points with you?)


    4. Read Zechariah 3:4. What did it take for Joshua to be sin-free? (A heavenly declaration.)


      1. What are the "rich garments" given to Joshua? (Read Matthew 22:11 and Revelation 7:9. They are a symbol of righteousness.)


      2. What role does Joshua have in the forgiveness of his sins and our sins? (The High Priest was an intercessor. He stood before God in God's house (the temple) bearing the sins of the people.)


    5. Read Hebrews 8:1-2 and Hebrews 9:24-26. How does the story of Joshua and our understanding of the sanctuary in heaven apply to us today? (We are saved the same way. We are filthy. We come before our Lord confessing our sins and requesting His intercession. He takes away our sins as easily as removing a garment. He gives us His righteousness as easily as putting on a garment.)


    6. Read Zechariah 3:5. Who is speaking? (Zechariah.)


      1. What authority does he have to order that Joshua be given a "clean turban?" (Commentators indicate that this was a prayer, or a request, rather than a command.)


      2. What symbolism do you find in the account of a person asking for a clean turban after being given a robe of righteousness? (I did not find any commentators that agree with me, but here is my thought. What is the first thing you want to do after being shown grace? You want a change in your attitude, your thinking. Your mind is where sin begins. Like King David you want a "pure heart" ( Psalms 51:10).)


    7. Read Zechariah 3:6-7. Last week we studied Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus told the story of the Samaritan in response to the question ( Luke 10:25), "How do I go to heaven?" Is this another instruction on how to go to heaven? ("Those standing here" are heavenly beings.)


      1. Are we back to salvation by works? The Good Samaritan might be a mythical figure, a seemingly unreachable goal. But, this language is clear - we are called to some sort of action.)


      2. What do you think it means to "govern [God's] house and have charge of [God's] courts?" (A high priest would "govern" God's house. A chief judge would have charge of God's courts. But see, 1 Corinthians 6:2.)


        1. Does this change the "go to heaven" meaning of the text? (God is not simply telling us how to go to heaven, He is telling us how to achieve a high rank in heaven. Those "standing here" were in the very presence of God.)


      3. To what kind of action are we called? (Walking and keeping requirements.)


        1. What does the symbolism of "walking" suggest? (Not a moment by moment analysis of your actions, but rather the general direction of your life.)


        2. What does "keeping requirements" suggest? (Obeying God's commands.)


    8. What should we conclude about the path to salvation? (The forgiveness of sin and the robe of righteousness are not based on our works. They are based on us coming before God for forgiveness, and then God gives us righteousness. Period. However, our life does not stop there. We pure minds. We need to respond to God's love with a life generally in accord with His will. We need to pay attention to His commands and try to keep them.)


      1. Do our righteous works make a difference? (Our works will not save us, but this suggests that they affect our status in heaven! This is not the only text of this nature. Consider, among others, Matthew 5:19 and Matthew 6:19-20.)


    9. Read Zachariah 3:8-9. God tells us to pay special attention at this point. Why? (Because this story symbolizes the future. God is about to tell us our future.)


      1. Who is this "Branch?" (Read Jeremiah 23:5-6. Jesus!)


      2. Who is the "Stone?" (Read Daniel 2:44-45. The Stone can also be a reference to Jesus.)


        1. Notice that the Stone has "seven eyes." What does that teach us about the future? (That Jesus has perfect vision. He is watching our life, watching out for us.)


      3. In the future, "the sin of this land" is removed in one day. Did that happen? (Yes! When the Branch, the Stone, died in our place and rose to eternal life! Praise God!)


    10. Friend, last week and this week we talked about how you can be saved by grace alone. There is nothing you can do to earn your salvation. After our salvation, God calls us to walk in His ways and be obedient to His commands. In light of what Jesus has done to save your life, and the lives of those you love most, will you determine today to ask for purity of mind so that pure actions will follow?


  3. Next Week: The Prodigal's New Clothes.

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