A vision of compassion
Feinberg (p. 38) has an excellent summary of the teaching and application of the first vision:
The distinctive features of comfort for Israel in this first vision are: (1) the presence of the Angel of Jehovah in the midst of degraded and depressed Israel; (2) His loving and yearning intercession for them; (3) the promises of future blessings. We may say, then, that the import of the vision is this: although Israel is not yet in her promised position, God is mindful of her, providing the means of His judgment on the persecuting nations, and reserving glory and prosperity for Israel in the benevolent and beneficent reign of the Messiah.
The series of visions carry us through God’s dealings with Israel from the time of their chastisement by God under the Gentile powers until they are restored to their land with their rebuilt city and temple under their Messiah King. The first vision gives the general theme of the whole series; the others add the details … When the world was busy with its own affairs, God’s eyes and the heart of the Messiah were upon the lowly estate of Israel and upon the temple in Jerusalem.
God passionately pursues us in Christ with his love, mercy, and kindness. On another level, as we await the death of sin at Christ’s second coming, God continues to bring discipline into our lives. It is not easy when God brings such difficulties into our lives, whether acts of discipline or not, to sustain confidence in his mercy. But such discipline is truly an expression of his love and mercy in our lives (Heb. 12:1–11), even if we cannot identify the reason for such experiences. Zechariah 1:7–17 reminds us of the ultimate goal of all discipline—deepened and purified relationship with our covenant Lord.