Good and Comforting Words
Good and Comforting Words
Text: Zechariah 1.7-17
Introduction: God’s people sinned greatly. 2 Chronicles 36.13-21. After 70 years are completed, then God moves on the Persian King Cyrus to return the children back to their land. Ezra 1. However, opposition arises. Obstacles arise and “frustrate their purpose” all the days of Cyrus even until Darius’ reign and the “work of the house of God…ceased.”
Now, there is the “Call to Full Repentance.” God will not allow repentance in a short measure. It must be full and complete repentance. In the first 6 verses of Zechariah we see the “Call to Repentance” in verse 3 with conditions: if you do, then I will return to you and if you do not, then I will overtake you like I did your fathers. He admonishes them do not be like your fathers, turn! They would not hear nor heed Me. What is the consequence of not hearing God? Demise, destruction – God says it this way, “My words and laws will overtake you.” People look around and do not see God. They are oblivious to His presence. But, He is there all the while overtaking them.
Those returning came up against stiff opposition. Great and difficult obstacles arise when there is a call from God to repent and turn to Him. Do you remember the Parable of the Sower? Matthew 13.20-22. There is always opposition. How are we ever to make it through? There is not just repentance. There must be faith to obey God’s command. But, with the obstacles and opposition comes despair and despondency. Isn’t it beautiful and wonderful that God deals with this by Good and Comforting Words? God deals with our natural reaction to the opposition with encouraging words of comfort. Comfort always follows true repentance.
God’s message to us is good and comforting words that bring beauty for ashes, joy for mourning and praise for the broken hearted. The Lord drives the message home by three means of consolation: 1st, The Lord consoles; 2nd, The Lord intercedes and 3rd, the Lord speaks.
I. The Lord Consoles.
1.10-11 – The Lord consoles us with His presence and interference in their lives.
A. The Lord is in the midst of our lives. “The Angel of the Lord”
1. This title refers to the Lord Himself. This is none other than the man Christ Jesus pre-incarnated, what is termed a theophany.
2. Genesis 22.11-12 and Judges 13.3 – demonstrates The Lord’s presence. It is God Himself.
3. No different in what the Lord has done in the incarnation. Emmanuel – God with us! It becomes important in that God is in our midst, in our presence. He is with us! How comforting is that?
B. The Lord actively intervenes in our lives. “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth.” Why does God send these sent “to and fro?” Does God need information? No. The Lord is letting us know that He is active in all events.
1. When these go forth “to and fro,” they come back and report that all the earth is resting quietly. This means they are sitting in quiet security, as if they have nothing to worry about. They do not think God sees everything. They don’t think God knows what is going on. They are living in quiet, calm, undisturbed repose not knowing they have someone against them.
2. In contrast, the church is as these myrtle trees in a low valley or bottom living in feebleness and obscurity. They are seemingly, out of the picture. There is no help for them. The world is not worried about them. Their enemy successfully frustrated their purpose and work.
3. But the Lord is on the scene. In fact, He is in their midst, standing among the myrtle trees in the hollow. He comes riding a red horse indicating He is coming to exact His wrath. He has others with him – “and behind Him were horses: red for war and bloodshed, sorrel for burning and destroying and white for victory over the world.
Isn’t it comforting to know that the Lord is present with us and actively intervenes on our behalf to destroy the enemy and win the victory. Listen to these comforting words from 2 Chronicles 20.15 to Jehoshaphat when the Ammonites came against him, “Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid or dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’” “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
II. The Lord Intercedes.
1.12-13 – The Lord intercedes on our behalf to the Lord.
A. The report of the angels going “to and fro” in all the earth that all the earth is resting quietly while the church is prostrate and suffering sets the foundation for intercession. Notice the players in this. The “Angel of the Lord,” the 2nd person of the Godhead, crying out unto the Lord, “O Lord of hosts.” This is not unlike His high priestly pray in John 17 – “Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me.” He intercedes for His own.
B. Although they were restored to the land, back from exile. The capital city was still in ruins, the land still in waste, the walls broken down, the gates burnt and the temple destroyed. Would the troubles never end? All the while, it appeared the enemy rested quietly in their continuous violent agitation and obstruction of obeying God. It is a consolation to us that things are not as they are seen. 2 Kings 6.14-17.
C. The Angel of the Lord cries out, “How long?” Don’t you know that this is exactly what you want to cry out! And here is the Lord crying out for you. He groans for you when you cannot. He ever intercedeth. He is perfect in His priestly role.
It is comforting to know that not only is the Lord present with you and intervening on your behalf, but He also intercedes on your behalf.
III. The Lord Speaks.
1.14-17 – The Lord speaks good and comforting words to us.
A. Notice, there is no deliverance, only these words. We might ask, how can this be any comfort to us? This sounds a little like James rebuke of one with a faith without works, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled’…what does it profit?” What good is a bunch of words?
1. Look through this book and see how many times the Lord speaks. There is great significance in the Word of the Lord.
Isaiah 55.11 – “My word that goes forth from My mouth…shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing which I sent it…”
2. His words are sure and they will overtake. Verse 6 – “Yet surely My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, Did they not overtake your fathers?” There came a time when what God said would happen to their fathers happen. Their fathers admit this – “Just as the Lord of hosts determined to do to us…so He has dealt with us.” Their time was too late. But the same goes for us. His words will overtake us. What He said He would do for you will be done. Consider it done. Everything may appear gloomy, but you have these words. Take for example Ephesians 2.6-7
B. He speaks what is good and comforting to us. “I am zealous for you.” He makes clear His motive toward us. There is not anger, but a burning of love for us. This kind of talk indicates He will not allow the enemy to destroy us. He has a great zeal for us.
C. He also lets us in on some inside information to the whole situation of the chastisement and the suffering. “I was a little angry with you, but they took this thing further.” The devil will take the occasion of the chastisement and make it much, much worse. Not to minimize the correction, but the devil is the accuser and he brings the accusations to you. This ought to help us to interpret our trials and sufferings.
D. He also speaks of what He will do on our behalf. He will have mercy and build prosperity. He says it this way in Joel, “I will restore everything that the great army of locust destroyed.” Everything was destroyed, but God will rebuild. I will dwell in Jerusalem. I will build My house. I will measure the whole place and spread out your prosperity. I will again comfort Zion!