Lesson 12

Heaven's Best Gift (Zechariah)

(Zechariah 7-14, Matthew 21)
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Introduction: When I was growing up, some of my elders would tell me that if I did not obey God, He would not listen to me when I needed help. Others would say that God would listen to me regardless of what I might do. Our study of Zechariah 7 helps unravel that issue. Another issue when I was younger was whether Christianity was the correct religion. There were so many religions. I grew up a Christian, how could I be sure I was born into the right religion? Zechariah 9 & 11 help with that issue. Let's dive into the lesson and see what lessons God has for us!

  1. Stopped Ears


    1. Read Zechariah 7:2-3. It seems odd today to fast on the "fifth month," but this tradition arose because the Jerusalem temple was destroyed on the fifth month. What do you think motivated the people to ask God about continuing this practice? (They were rebuilding the temple! Perhaps the time had come to stop fasting in memory of its destruction.)


    2. Read Zechariah 7:4-6. Is this a "yes," or a "no?" (It seems like a "yes, stop fasting on the fifth month.")


      1. Why does God say, "Yes?" Why is His "yes" so ambiguous? (He says they were never serious about it anyway! They were not mourning the loss of His residence, they were merely thinking about themselves.)


      2. Recall that when we studied Haggai, a dispute arose over whether the 70 years had passed and the people could begin work to rebuild the temple? When God spoke to the people, He did not discuss the technical issue of when the prophecy ended. Instead, He spoke to them about being devoted to His work. Why? (God seems more concerned about our relationship with Him than about prophetic interpretation.)


    3. Read Zechariah 7:8-10. What has this to do with fasting? (It is a "fast" from sin. God wants us to deny self and reflect His kindness and fair treatment.)


    4. Read Zechariah 7:11-12. How are the people reacting to God's instructions?


    5. Read Zechariah 7:13-14. Is this "payback?" Is this "if you don't listen to me I won't listen to you?" (Consider the context. God says "You were never really concerned about Me or listening to Me. Why should I listen and respond when you won't listen?" I don't think this is payback, I think God is saying that it would do no good to listen to them.)


    6. What is the lesson for us if we think that God is not listening to us? (The problem is all within our control. If we are not going to listen to God, He is not going to waste effort responding to us.)


  2. New Day


    1. Read Zechariah 8:3-5. What is the future for Jerusalem? (Those who can least defend themselves will feel safe being in the streets.)


    2. Read Zechariah 8:6. How would you answer God? (The people have not had a right relationship with God. They are amazed when God blesses them.)


    3. Read Zechariah 8:14-17. How can God say, "Do not be afraid?" Isn't God saying that He has changed His mind and He will now do good things instead of bad things to His people?


      1. Read Jeremiah 29:11-13. How do you square "God's plans" with what we just read about how God changes His attitude toward us? (God's goal is always the same - to give us hope and a future. We may stop listening to God and bad things may naturally result, but God's plan is to turn this into something good. God wants us to be His partners in doing good.)


    4. Read Zechariah 8:20-23. What is the message the "one Jew" should have to those ten who want to learn about the Lord Almighty? (Seek God. Pay attention to God. Be just to others. God will bless you!)


  3. The King's Message


    1. Read Matthew 21:1-3. What does Jesus prophetically see in the village? (A donkey with a colt.)


    2. Read Matthew 21:4-9 and Zechariah 9:9. What did Zechariah prophesy about Jesus?


    3. Read Matthew 21:10-13. What theme is repeated here that we saw earlier in Zechariah? (The people were focused on their own needs and wealth, they were not focused on God's needs and God's house.)


    4. Read Zechariah 9:10. If you believed this prophecy, would you think that Jesus would come as a military hero? (This says that God's people will be disarmed, but that they will enjoy peace.)


      1. What does this teach us about Jesus? (He not only was predicted by the prophets, but He reflected God's historic message.)


      2. Is this "pay attention to God's needs" a message for us today? (Yes. We keep seeing this theme: if we focus on God's needs He will watch over us and give us peace.)


      3. Let's have a reality check. Was Daniel a follower of God? (Yes. See, e.g., Daniel 1:8-9.)


        1. Was Daniel also a captive? (Yes. The evil of others can create problems in our life. However, God's intent for us is to bless us if we make Him a priority.)


    5. Read Zechariah 11:4-7 and John 10:14-15. We have two different kinds of shepherds here. Who is the Good Shepherd? (Jesus)


      1. What makes the difference between the shepherds? (The bad shepherds use the sheep for their own advantage.)


    6. Read Zechariah 11:8-11. When Jesus came, how did His people react to Him? (The officials, in general, detested Him.)


      1. Is this now a prophecy about Jesus?


      2. What is the result of the flock detesting Jesus? (God broke His staff of "Favor," He revoked his covenant.)


    7. Read Zechariah 11:12-13, Matthew 26:14-16, and Matthew 27:3-8. What does this tell us about Jesus? (This is a very specific prophecy about Jesus that was fulfilled. This was not something that Jesus and His disciples could manipulate.)


    8. Read Zechariah 11:15-16. We have discussed the Babylonian captivity, we have discussed how afterwards God blessed His people. What does this suggest about the long-term welfare of God's people? (Having rejected the Shepherd who cared for them, they are given a shepherd who "tears off their hoofs.")


    9. Read Zechariah 13:7-8. What is the specific result of striking the Shepherd? (Terrible ruin to God's people.)


  4. Restoration


    1. Read Zechariah 13:9. What is the future for God's people? (A group who survive the terrible time will come out with a stronger faith. God will claim them as His people, and they will proclaim "The Lord is our God.")


    2. Read Zechariah 14:1-3. Recently, I read a book about the history of Jerusalem. It has been the scene of many battles. When does this battle take place? ("A day of the Lord" points to the Second Coming of Jesus.)


    3. Read Zechariah 14:4. Has this happened? (No. Clearly, this is a future event.)


      1. What is Jesus doing on behalf of Jerusalem and His people? (He is coming in power to defend the city.)


      2. Read Zechariah 14:5. Who are with Jesus? ("All the holy ones.")


      3. How does this sequence of events unfold? Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. This has Jesus at the Second Coming meeting us in the air, not heading to Jerusalem for mountain-splitting. How do you explain this?


      4. Read Revelation 20:4-9 and Revelation 21:1-3. How does this clarify the time sequence? (At Jesus' Second Coming we are taken directly to heaven to live with Him for one thousand years. This is the "first resurrection," the resurrection of the righteous. After a thousand years have passed, Jesus, the New Jerusalem and the saved return to earth. The wicked, who are raised in the second resurrection, attack the New Jerusalem and Jesus defeats them.)


    4. Read Zechariah 14:6-9 and Revelation 22:1-5. Are Zechariah and John the Revelator describing the same scene? (I think so.)


    5. If Zechariah so clearly described how Jesus would fulfill prophecy, can we doubt the fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy about the end of the world?


    6. Friend, Jesus is looking for those who want to listen to Him, those who desire to advance God's kingdom on earth. If you are not among those, why not determine today to make that change? Why not decide to listen to God, to make giving glory to God your highest goal? You may face trouble, but God has promised to win the battle for His people and His city!


  5. Next week: Lest We Forget! (Malachi)

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