God Has Something To Say
By Bobby Blakey on August 27, 2023
God Has Something To Say
By Bobby Blakey on August 27, 2023
I share with you here this morning, we have air conditioning units come in for our new space across the parking lot. I want to thank everybody here who has prayed for God to provide these units, he has answered our prayers. And they are getting some kind of special coastal coating on them because of all the salty sea air apparently that's going to blow on these units. And they're going to be shipped to us. So, I don't know how long now that construction will take to complete. But we have units that are on the way. And so, to celebrate, to praise the Lord, I'm wearing one of our new Usher shirts this morning, because at the end of this service, I will be ushering all of us into the new auditorium to sing our last song of praise there together. And thank the Lord for being good to us.
So that's some good news. And I want to invite you, we haven't even opened the Bible yet. So, I want to invite you to Zechariah chapter 8 with me. And if you have opened your bulletin and you got the handout out to take notes, and you saw ten points on that, you might have freaked out a little bit, okay. And you're like, how are we going to fit this into this amount of time? Well, it'll make sense when we go through Zechariah eight here, because God has ten things that he says to his people. And so, I don't want to edit any of these things out. And in fact, if you could turn to Zechariah 8, or if you could open up the handout there, in your bulletin, we printed the whole chapter there on the right hand side; we even printed it on the back as well, because it wouldn't even fit on one side. And so, what I would love for you to do is start going through if you do have a pen and the handout there is if you could start going through with me and see how many times it says, “Thus says the Lord” or “Thus says the Lord of hosts.” And the first one you can see in Zechariah 8:1, it says, “the word of the LORD of hosts came saying, and then there are ten different statements that starts, “Thus says the Lord.” And so, if you could just circle or underline how many different times you can see it there in verse 2 and verse 3, in verse 4, you can see it in verse 6, verse 7, verse 9, and you can just keep going through all the way to the other side of your handout. So that's what this chapter is. This is like ten different statements. Some of them just one verse, some of them more like a paragraph, but ten different things that God has to say. God has something to say to his people.
And so, we're going to go through these ten things here this morning. And we're going to see, well, what was God saying to them? And how would that apply to you and me hearing God say it here today. And so now you might notice that there are not as much young people sitting up here in the front at our nine o'clock service, because usually we've got like forty high school students here at our service, and they are up at forest home, finishing up their “Back to School” camp that they've been having. I got a report from high school director, Shane Ruhland. He said, we have students professing faith, students uniting together with kids, they're going to go back to school with worshiping the Lord. So, they're going to be back later this afternoon. So, because the youth aren't here, I'm going to need some energy from all of you to help me go through these ten points. Are you guys ready for this here this morning? All right, let's get right into it together.
Zechariah 8:1-2, “And the word of the Lord of hosts came, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath.’” Now, you can see here, even on our handout here, it didn't quite print out right, because it doesn't say capital L O R D. And if you look at your copy of the Scripture, if you did open your Bible to Zechariah 8, you can see that all the times when it's using the word LORD in Zechariah 8, it's all capital letters. LORD. So, whenever you see that in the English translation, the tetragrammaton. It's actually the Hebrew word YHWH. It's not actually like the word Lord. That means ruler, literally, or sovereign one, that's actually a different Hebrew word Adonai. When you see the capital, and all of them are the capital LORD here in Zechariah 8. And so, that actually is the word YHWH. And some of us have been learning more about the different names of God in the Hebrew language, whether it's Elohim, the word that we usually translate God, and in either word, that means Lord or ruler, sovereign one, or this word YHWH, which means “I am,” that God is eternal. But YHWH is often used when God wants to speak to his people in a personal way. And he wants to have that relationship with his people. I mean, your way. That's how God says Moses should introduce him to the Israelites, when he speaks to Moses. Moses is like talking to God in the burning bush, “who should I say that you are,” and God's like, hey, tell him I'm YHWH, tell him “I Am that I Am.” And that's the personal way that God relates to his people.
So, this is something that God wants to say, personally, to his people. And the first thing he says in Zechariah 8:2 is, “I am jealous for you, and I'm greatly jealous for you. You are my people. We talked about this a few weeks ago. We went back to the ten commandments where God says, you can't have any other gods, you can't make any images. Because I the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, you are mine. You don't belong to anybody else. In fact, there's nobody else you even could belong to. There's no other God besides me. So, I made you; you are my people. Just like you would think that you have your spouse, or your kids or your house or your car. You know, it doesn't feel weird to say that's yours, because it belongs to you. That's how God feels about his people. God is jealous for them because they are his people. And he wants them to be with them. He doesn't want them to be with anybody else because they belong to him.
And so, God shows up with a passion and wants to speak to his people in a personal way. And he has a passion that these would be his people. So, let's get this down for our first thing that God has to say. And we're going to put it down in a way where we put the four letters instead of putting LORD in capital letters. We're going to put it down like how it would read in Hebrew, and we'll write it in English letters, we're going to put YHWH.
Okay, we're going to put this down for number one here your way: “YHWH has a passion to speak to his people.” Yahweh has a passion to speak to his people. And so, he comes up and he has a personal word. And he has a jealousy for his people because they are his people. And he has a lot that he wants to say here. But he wants to make it clear that he's speaking to them as his people, and he is jealous for them with great jealousy, with great wrath. He has a passion here with which he speaks. And then if you look with me, at Zechariah 8:3, he continues right into his second thing that says, the LORD, I have returned to Zion, and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain. So, this is something that God has already said to his people back in Zechariah 1:14, is I'm going to be there with you in Jerusalem, I'm going to restore my relationship with you. And that's what we've been seeing if you've been here for the Book of Zechariah. Like, God's going to be there with them, his glory is going to be in their midst. He's talking to the high priest, and we're getting back into a righteous standing with God. He's talking about Zerubbabel rebuilding the temple so that people can gather together and worship God. God is with his people in Jerusalem, once again. And yet, there's also a future thing that he's saying, Look, when he says halfway through the verse, that Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain. So, this this statement here that God is making, that Yahweh is making to his people, it's both true in the present, that he's there with them, and he is restoring them in Jerusalem. But someday “Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain.” Someday, everybody's going to know that God is there in Jerusalem, not just his people, but all people will see Jerusalem as the City of God. And so, this is, hey, he's back. But also, the best days are yet to come for Jerusalem. And if you start to study this idea of Jerusalem being the faithful city, or Jerusalem being the holy mountain, you'll see that God's not just saying this here in Zechariah 8, he's saying this all over the place.
So, one reference you could write down is Psalm 2:6, where God says that I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill, same word here translated, holy mountain. God has a king that he is going to set on the city of Jerusalem. Who is that King that God's going to set on Jerusalem, everybody? It's Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. So, he's here when we talk about the faithful city, the holy mountain, and he's got even future plans for the city of Jerusalem.
In fact, if you go through the book of Isaiah, in Isaiah 1:26, it refers to Jerusalem as the faithful city. And then you get to Isaiah 2:3, and it calls Jerusalem, the Holy Mountain. So, this has already been said in previous prophecies, in Psalms, that this is what God is going to build Jerusalem. And God has now started that work, but there's more of it yet to come.
So, let's get this down for the second thing YHWH has to say. “YHWH has a plan for the future.” YHWH has a plan for the future. He's back with his people to speak to them. But he also has a much bigger vision of what he's going to do with his people in Jerusalem. And Jerusalem is going to be not the beat down broken-down city that it is right now that they're struggling to rebuild and having to work hard to get going again. No, it's going to be the faithful city, it's going to be the holy mountain of God. And then he says this, and I love what God says next, in Zechariah 8:4-5. Let's look at the third statement here. Starting in Zechariah 8:4. Thus says the Lord of hosts. Remember LORD of Hosts means YHWH of hosts, YHWH, the God who commands the armies of heaven, the God who sends out his angels. “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.”
Now, when I grew up, I was taught that it is impolite to call people old. Anybody else taught that as well? Hey, hey, you don't walk up to somebody, hey, old man, great to see you at church here today, right? But the Scripture here is trying to show us this idyllic state where people are growing to be very of a great age. You know, that's also probably not the best way to say it, you know, like, hey, wow, your birthday is coming up, you've really reached a great age with your life, right? Well, the point is here, people are living for a while, it almost seems like a supernaturally long time in this future city of Jerusalem. And it's kind of this peaceful situation where people are healthy, they're prosperous. And so, they're living beyond what we would expect people to live today. In fact, what a great picture of children, the place is so peaceful, it feels so safe, that children are just running through the streets playing. Let me ask the parents, hey, you're here in Huntington Beach, and all the surrounding cities around here in Southern California? Do you feel safe with your kids just running out and playing in the streets these days? See this faithful city, this holy mountain, when God reveals his plan for the future, in Jerusalem, people are going to live way longer than they're living now. And it's going to feel so safe, so peaceful, that you could be like, I'll see you later and not even worry about what's going to happen to that.
And, in fact, go over to Isaiah 65 so we can see kind of a more developed version of what God is saying here. Another prophecy that that is very similar, is in Isaiah, chapter 65, starting in verse 17. And so God here is talking about a time in Jerusalem's history. That's even future from our perspective. We believe that Jesus is going to come back to Jerusalem, and he's going to establish a kingdom. We believe that someday there's going to be new heavens and a new earth, where there will be a new Jerusalem that will come. I like a city out of heaven like a bride, for her husband. And so, you can see that idea here is what these prophecies are talking about, like this glorious state of the future of the nation of Israel represented in Jerusalem. Look what it says in Isaiah 65:17-20. ““For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
So, what he's what he's saying here is that when somebody dies at 100, it's like they died like a baby, that people are going to be living for a very long time. Life is going to be on a whole different scale. When you see this work that God does in this new Jerusalem. When we really see God's ultimate plan for his people and his city, it will be life beyond what we could imagine today. I mean, no more hearing sirens going down the street, no more hearing people shout and argue in the middle of the street feeling like the streets are happy places where people are rejoicing because God is among his people. And everyone is at peace, and all is right in the world. See, that's what it's talking about here. It's saying.
Let's get this down for number three: “YHWH has life better than now.” Yahweh has life better than now, that the future that God has prepared for his people is going to be better than the life that we know and experience today. God wants his people to see the best is yet to come, and the struggles you're going through now, the health problems you're going through now, feeling your body grow towards old age, feeling like you're concerned about your kids, and what's going to happen to them in this evil and unsafe world that they're growing up in. All of those kinds of ways that we're used to feeling today, we're not even going to relate to those feelings when rejoicing in the city of God in the futures. And so, God's trying to instill this strong confidence in these people. The people who came back to Jerusalem, there wasn't that many of them. When the people came back, they had to rebuild the temple, but they already knew from the beginning, even when they cheered at the foundation of the temple, they knew the temple wasn't going to be as awesome as it was back in King Solomon's day, the people who are old enough to see the old temple, they wept at how small in comparison, how puny in comparison, this new temple was going to be. They had no walls around their city. So, they're here rebuilding the temple, they don't feel like something glorious and amazing is happening. And so, God wants to let them know my plans for you, I have a hope for you, I have a future for you. And my plans for you are more than all you could ask or think, they're more than what you're imagining here today. The future that I have prepared for you, it's better than what you could even picture right now. That's what God wants to say to his people. And he wants to encourage them.
Go back to Zechariah chapter 8. And it's almost like what God is saying to these people, it's too good to be true. It's almost like God describing the city like this, when they look around at the broken down walls and the beat down economy and all the trouble that they're having in Jerusalem, and the God saying all these glorious things about the faithful city, the holy mountain. The old people, the young people, they might be thinking, I don't know, that seems like a stretch I it's hard to picture that here. And that's why out of the ten things that God says Zechariah 8:6 is my personal favorite, you can tell me which one stands out to you the most as we go through all ten of them. But I'll just tell you a verse 6 is the one that has encouraged me the most this week. Look what God says here, ”Thus says the Lord of hosts: If it is marvelous in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in my sight, declares the Lord of hosts?” So he's basically saying, Hey, is what I'm saying to marvelous for you? Is it too awesome for you? Or you could even translate this Hebrew word here that's translated “marvelous”. You could translate it “hard or difficult.” Hey, is it hard for you to imagine what I'm saying? Well, just because it's hard for you to imagine, is it too hard for me? That's the question God's asking here. Hey, so you think it's marvelous. You think this sounds amazing? Well, yeah, it might be amazing from your perspective, but are you saying I'm not able to do it? Because what's marvelous for you is that too marvelous for me, declares the LORD of hosts. Hears God's saying, just because you can't see it, just because you can't believe it, doesn't mean that I can't do it. See, God's ability goes beyond our faith is what he's saying here. Just because you have a limitation on what you believe God is able to do does not mean that God has any limitation on what he is actually able to do. Is anything too hard for the Lord? That's how the same word is used in Genesis chapter 18.
If everybody could turn back to the beginning, and let's just show an example to something that seemed impossible, or it seemed too much from our perspective, but God, he's able to do it. And this is something I want to encourage you to ask yourself is, are you putting limitations on what you think God can do in your life? When you're praying? Are you thinking, well, God can't really do this? So you can't ask him to do it? Are you using “Lord willing” as some kind of limiting thing? Like I don't think God's really going to do it? So, I'll throw a “Lord willing” on it. And is that just because you can't believe God can do it? Or is that because God's not actually able to do it? Because the question you can see here in Genesis 18:14, is anything too hard for the Lord? What's the answer to that question, everybody? It might be impossible with man, but all things are possible with God.
And so, what are we talking about here in Genesis 18:14? Well, we're talking about Abraham and Sarah. And that's the context here. And look what it says, “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” Because I'm coming back. And Abraham and Sarah are going to have a baby and you know why they're going to have a baby? Because God said they're going to have a baby. What? Whoa, hold up. How old is Sarah, this time? By Genesis 18, Sarah, she's like ninety years old. How old is Abraham around this time? Abraham is around a hundred years old. Hundred-year-old man and a ninety-year-old wife about to drop off their infant in the kids’ ministry. That's not something I'm seeing around here in Huntington Beach. That seems a little too marvelous for me, a little too difficult for me. Let me ask everybody here. If you've been to church at all, did Abraham and Sarah have a baby? Whoa, what's his name? Isaac is his name; in fact, Father Abraham had many sons, right? I mean, this is what God said God took a man Abram. And he said to him, hey, look at the stars in the heavens, if you can count them, look at all the sand on the seashore, if you could possibly imagine how much sand that actually is, so shall your offspring be so shall your descendants be, and Abraham, you know what? He that might have been too much for him. But Abraham, he believed God.
See, my concern is that we're putting limits. And we're not building our faith based on what God says. We're building our faith based on what we can see. And we can't see God saving that person. We can't see God changing this thing in our life. We can't see past how we're going to overcome this challenging circumstance. And just because it's too marvelous for us, is it really too marvelous for him? See, it's like God knows these people might have a hard time believing the promises that he's given them in Zechariah 8, and so he wants to flip it around, just because it's too difficult for you, is anything too hard for the Lord? Is there something you've given up on praying about? Is there something you've stopped believing God can do? Well, let me tell you that hundred year old man and a ninety year old lady, they're having a baby, a year after this, because God said they are, and when God has something to say, it's going to happen. And we need to be building our faith based on what God says, and not what we can see. Can I get an amen from anybody on this?
Let's get this down for number four. “Is anything too hard for Yahweh?” Is anything too hard for Yahweh? What is Yahweh able to do? That you're doubting him, you're limiting what God's ability because you can't see it happening? So maybe we need to rethink some of our expectations, some of our prayer requests, based on the fact that all things are possible with God. And that's something we want to meditate on more together as a church. Is anything too hard for Yahweh? What are you acting like might be too difficult for God to do? Because these people, go back to Zechariah chapter 8, these people here thinking that Jerusalem is going to have this worldwide reputation as the faithful city and the holy mountain, thinking that Jerusalem. I mean, they must have felt like Jerusalem was this lawless place during the exile. No government, no safety, no economy. I mean, this place was uncivilized, uninhabitable. Now they're just barely trying to get this place going again. And God said they're going to have people living way past the normal life expectancy, and kids are going to be running around in the streets.
See, that seems like too much, but God is able to do it. That's what he wants them to know. And so, here's what God says in Zechariah 8:7-8. Now in his fifth statement here that says, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.” See, hey, it might be too marvelous for you, but is it too marvelous for me, because I'm going to bring all the Jewish people that have been dispersed in the exile, whether they've gone way out to the east, or way out to the west, whatever direction they've gone. I'm going to bring them all back. And I'm going to be right there. See, this is God's endgame. This has always been God's goal, whether you go back to Exodus 29:45, when he establishes a covenant with Israel, or whether you go all the way to the New Jerusalem, and Revelation 21:3, and many stops in between, God is always ready to say, I will be their God, and they will be my people. That is always what God has wanted. That has always been God's plan. God wants to have where he dwells, in the midst of his people, and all around him, are a people that he has set apart for his praise and his glory, people who are happy to be there where God is. And I'm going to do that God says, I'm going to do that, just like he promised to Israel originally. And we can see these promises continue, even all the way to the end of the book of Revelation, that God is this, you start doing a study on this, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. That is throughout the Bible. You could write down Exodus 29:45, you could write down Leviticus 26:12, where it talks about it there as God's establishing his original covenant with Israel. But you could also read about it in Jeremiah 31:33, where God's establishing a new covenant through his Holy Spirit, where he's going to put his law on people's hearts, people that he's going to save through his Son, Jesus Christ, in the church, people like us. And then you can go and see that when that new Jerusalem comes out of heaven, and when all the people get to live in the city of God, God says, I'm now with my people, and I will be their God. So, this is what your way wants, and he's promising that it is going to happen.
Let's get this down for number five, “YHWH wants to be with you.” YHWH wants to be with you. See, what we have to do it as we go through Zechariah 8 today is we’ve got to see, okay, this is written through the prophet Zechariah, two guys like Joshua and Zerubbabel, and all the people that were in the original crew that came back to Jerusalem. So, this was written as a specific prophecy at a place in time to those people, but God is saying things and whatever God says is true. Whatever God says, he's going to be faithful to do it. God, he judges in righteousness. And so, when God speaks, his words are eternal. They're going to outlast everything else. And so even though God is speaking to these people in Israel after the exile, how is this also something that God is saying to me, and this is God's plan for all of his people, whether they're Jews, or whether we're Gentiles, who have believed in Jesus and been brought into the Church of Jesus Christ. In these last days, it doesn't matter how you become one of the people of God, he wants to be your God, and he wants you to be one of his people. And he wants you to dwell there with him, in Jerusalem, in the kingdom, in the New Jerusalem, in the age to come in eternity. God wants you to be there with him. And if that's too marvelous for you, it's not too marvelous for him. That's always been his intention. That's always been his plan for his people. And you can see that as a theme throughout the Scripture, a theme that he wants to say to us here, and Zechariah chapter 8:7-8. Now, in Zechariah 8:9, we’ve get to the longest statement that that God makes in the chapter and this is the statement really, where he gives them the clearest thing that he has for them to do.
So, let's get into number six here. Now, the sixth statement of God in Zechariah 8:9-13, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Let your hands be strong, you who in these days have been hearing these words from the mouth of the prophets who were present on the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for beast, neither was there any safety from the foe for him who went out or came in, for I set every man against his neighbor. But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the Lord of hosts. For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong.”
God says, if you go back to Zechariah 8:9, this idea like you guys need to be strong, and specifically, being strong with your hands. What is God referring to? Well, he goes back to when the Prophet spoke to them, and they had laid the foundation of the house of the Lord. This is the beginning of the construction to rebuild the temple. Okay, so he's referring to it's now been maybe two and a half years, roughly, since that day of foundation when they started rebuilding the temple. And I think they've got a couple more years to go. So, they're in the middle of a construction project. We know how construction projects go, they take longer, they cost more, they are a challenging thing. And they're building this temple, they're doing the physical labor, they're doing it with their hands. And so, God, he has these glorious promises of what is to come. And he's hoping to inspire their faith so that they will work hard. God's saying, here's the work that I'm going to do. Now you be strong in the work that I'm giving you to do, and you play a role in my plan, you need to rebuild this temple. So, he refers here, back now to the day they laid the foundation of the first stone. And if you go to Ezra chapter 3, you can read the whole story of the day, that they lay that foundation, and when they lay that foundation, there's like a shout, and people are praising the Lord and there's excitement, we're going to rebuild the temple, God's going to be with us in Jerusalem. And there's also at the same time among the older generation, people weeping and mourning and crying, because they know what the new temple is going to look like. And they remember the old temple. And they're sad to see what has happened here to God's people. And so, it's a very emotional moving scene, where there's people crying, and people shouting with great joy all at the same time, when they laid that foundation. And so now years have gone by, and here comes a word from the Lord, you’ve got to stick with the work, you’ve got to do what I told you to do, let your hands be strong, says the Lord. Hey, let me just tell you that my thought about you has changed because there was a time where I was judging you. And during that time, this place was lawless, you couldn't get a job here, you couldn't really even have an economy here. It was everybody for themselves. Hey, let me tell you that now my plan for Jerusalem is good. Now I'm here to prosper you. Now I'm here to give you success. I'm here to do a work of rebuilding. And so let your hands be strong, you have work to do, because I'm doing a work among you. And so, God says fear not at the very end of this, let your hands be strong. And this isn't even the first time that God has said this to them. Go just a few pages to the left back to the book of Haggai chapter 2 and look with me at a verse. Haggai and Zechariah, they were contemporaries, they were prophets at the same time. And so, Haggai, he gives more of the practical instruction, to stop building your house and start building God's house. That's the basic message of the book of Haggai and Zechariah.
While that rebuilding is going on, he's giving visions of the glorious future and all of the work that God's going to do, all the prophecies, even the spiritual work that God's going to do to restore his relationship of righteousness with the people, but Haggai he just has some practical things to say about what God wants them to do. And look what it says in Haggai 2:4, this sounds very similar to what we just read, yet now be strong. Zerubbabel, remember he's the governor in charge of rebuilding the temple, be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the LORD be strong. Oh Joshua, son of Jehovah, the high priests be strong. All you people of the land, declares your way work for I am with you, declares Yahweh of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you. I cut a covenant with you when you came out of Egypt and my spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.
Maybe you can remember in Zechariah 4, when he told Zerubbabel, you will finish rebuilding the temple, not by your mind, not by your power, but by my Spirit. So don't be afraid, be strong. Now, that was the message God had for this group of people at this specific time. And their goal was to rebuild the temple, you and I are not being called to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. So, this is where we're going to have to now think this through. Okay, what is God telling them to do? And how would I then take that to heart here today.
So, let's get this down for number six, “YHWH has worked for you to do now.” YHWH has worked for you to do now. So one of the things I want to really encourage everybody to do, as we consider Zechariah 8 together, as we hear it right now, as you go home and think about it in your heart, as you talk about it with your brothers and sisters in fellowship this week, if God was telling them, be strong with your hands, do the work of rebuilding the temple. Well, what is God working on today that God wants you to fear not and be strong in? Where is God wanting you to do work knowing that God is working? See, let's think this through. And you might even need to think well, what Scripture? Does God tell me to be strong? How is God looking for me? He's telling these people they've got a job to do, let your hands and be strong and well, are we doing the work that God is telling us to do? What is that work? Right, one of the things that comes to my mind right away, is what God has joined together, let no man what separate? Are you being strong as a husband? Are you being strong as a wife? One of the things I think right away is, unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. So, you're trusting in God to build your family? Are you being strong in that? I mean, are you as a dad? Are you teaching the Bible at your home? Are you disciplining your children? I mean, are we being strong in the in the work of taking care of the home of loving the kids? Are we what about even maybe you have a job that God has given you to do. And it's a way that God provides for you financially to meet all of your needs. Well, the Scripture is very clear. If you have a job that you're doing, you should work heartily as unto who should you do that work as unto the who, everybody? The Lord. Not just your boss, not just the person that you're working for there. No, you need to go and do whatever God's given to you, you need to go and do it with all your mind. And if you're working with your hands, you need to go be strong in the work that you're doing. See, one thing that comes to my mind as the clear comparison. They’re rebuilding the temple, and the temple is going to be the center of life in Jerusalem, because that's going to be the place that kind of represents and symbolizes their relationship with God, that's going to be the place they go to worship God. So, I mean, for us, where is the place that we gather together to worship with Jesus? I mean, Jesus, he made a promise, he said something that might seem even marvelous to us. Jesus said, I will build my what, everybody? The church, the church.
Now the church isn't built with hands. It's not built with stone. I mean, yeah, we're doing construction here at our church. But the church is not a building. The church is the people. We are the Church of Jesus Christ. Let me ask you a question. Are you being strong in the work of building the church of Jesus, because Jesus is building his church? I mean, someday, we're going to see the church that Jesus built, and there's going to be people from all over the world, people who speak all different languages, a multitude of people, and when they all speak “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,” it's going to be a roar, it's going to be a sound like you have never heard before in your life when the Church of Jesus gathers on that day. When the bride of Christ is joined together with Jesus, there will be a shout of joy. And there will be a sound of rejoicing unlike anything that has ever been heard. No, Jesus is going to build his church, Jesus is doing the work. Jesus can do it with or without you. If Jesus has said it, it's going to happen. But if you really believe that, are you being strong, to build the church of Jesus Christ? Are you being strong in your own faith? Are you being strong to build up your brothers and sisters? Are you being strong to shine as a light in the darkness and to speak the words of eternal life to the souls around you? Are you someone who is strong in your faith in Jesus Christ, or are you being weak? So, you need to hear the Lord say, hey, I'm doing it and what I'm going to do is better than what you could imagine. It’s too marvelous for you. But it's not too marvelous for me. And someday I'm going to be there with you. And you're going to be one of my people. So, you've got some work to do right now. So let your hands be strong, stop being afraid. That's what God's saying to his people? And would God think that you're being strong and what God's given you to do, or what God thinks that you're fearing, and you're being weak?
See, I mean, I meet regularly, I interact with two different kinds of Christians. And one kind of Christian that I talk to a lot is a kind of a let God. And let God kind of a Christian where they do believe that God's doing something awesome, but because God's doing something on so it's almost like, we'll just sit over here and chill, it's kind of to the point where it doesn't really matter what I do to the point, I'm not even going to do anything. Because God's got it, he's under control, he's going to do all the work. It's all for his glory. And so, it's almost like God's doing it, and I'm kind of disconnected from it. That's one kind of Christian I talk to. And then I talk to another Christian, and they're like, and I'm doing this, and I'm doing this, and then I’ve got to go over here and do this. And I'm trying really hard to do that. And it's almost like, you can feel a level of stress as they're saying it. And they're trying really hard. And they're really sincere, and they're working. And they're working in us in a hard working kind of a way. But it's almost like they don't have faith that God's doing it. And it's up to them. And it can become burdensome and hard work for them. And they're really going for it. But it's wearing them down over time. Because they're not really seeing that God is the one doing the work. And say we want to be the people, we have such faith in what God has said, our thinking, our heart has been defined by God having something to say, and if Jesus says he's going to do this, if God promises that this is going to happen, I believe it and because I believe God is the one doing the work. I'm ready to be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his mind.
See? Where are those mature people who can see what God is doing? And then that gives them confidence and faith to be a part of the work of God. That's the kind of people that we want to be. And so let's ask ourselves, this application question there under number 6, what does God want you to be strong? And since this verse here in Zechariah 8:9, where God says, let your hands be strong. Well, you and I aren't going to go do the work of placing the stones to rebuild the temple. But what is the work that you believe God is doing? And then you're ready to commit yourself to being strong? And you could write down next to that question Philippians, 2:12-13, where it makes it very clear in Philippians, 2:12-13, that we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us both to will and to do for his good pleasure, like we can be strong, because the Lord will make us strong to accomplish the work that he has already said he's going to do. So what a pep talk. Can you imagine God's telling you, he's going to do these amazing things? God's saying it's too much for you, but it's not too much for me. So get strong, right? Can you feel the people hearing that all these statements that God is making? I mean, I'm ready to go and close in prayer right now. I mean, that got me pumped up right there. What does God want me to do? What is God saying he's going to do? I want to be a part of the work that God is doing. But God has even more to say, and it picks up here in verse 14.
Statement number seven. Now, for thus says the Lord of hosts, as I purpose to bring disaster. So God wants to say this again. There was a time where I was bringing disaster to you when your father's provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent says the Lord of hosts. So again, have I purposed in these days to bring good to Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. So, fear not, these are the things that you shall do. Speak the truth to one another. Render in your judgments that are true, and make for peace, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath for all these things I hate declares the LORD, declares Yahweh. So, God wants to say to his people, again, yes, I know Jerusalem's kind of in this lawless place, and people were having a lot of division. And people were maybe every man for himself kind of a society was going on here. Well, that's when I was judging over those seventy years, but now I'm ready to have a purpose towards good and to prosper and to bring peace. And so because I'm going to bring peace to the city, I need everybody here to have peace in the way that you interact with one another in the city of Jerusalem. Stop taking advantage of one another, stop swindling one another when it comes to money, or stop making rules that mistreat some people, and take advantage for other people. Now I need you guys to have right governance, I need you guys to have fair business dealings, and I can see what's going on in your hearts. If you've got hate for somebody else here in Jerusalem, in your heart, I'm not going to be okay to that don't be lying to one another.
God is saying, hey, I am going to prosper you, I'm going to bring peace among you. And so, I need you to act towards one another in a way that makes for peace. And so, this is the second week in a row, and now the things that God is saying is starting to sound like the conclusion to what happened last week, if you were here. In chapter 7, people showed up from Bethel to the north, and they were saying, we've been fasting over the time of exile, should we keep fasting. And then God said, first of all, that was hypocrisy, you're not really fasting for me. And second of all, here's what I really want you to do is I really want you to have a heart for other people. Go back to chapter 7, and look at what God said in Zechariah 7:9 God said something very similar to this,” Thus says the Lord of hosts render true judgments,” whether he's talking about some kind of judgment, like in a court case, or a dispute, or whether maybe even talking about like financial interactions, you’ve got to render true judgments, you’ve got to show kindness and mercy to one another, show the love that God has for you, to somebody else. “Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor.” And then this idea, “let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”
So, you cannot think that I'm right with God, and everything's good in my relationship with God, even though I hate this person over here, and I can't stand this person over here. And I want nothing to do with them. Or I'm over here saying bad things about them, or just holding in my heart this bitterness towards them. But don't worry about that. Everything's good between me and God, know, God's saying, if you guys are going to have this relationship with me, then I see your heart and I can't be seeing you have evil in your heart to somebody else. So, this is to two times now God has expressed this in response to this fake fasting that came forward.
Let's get this down for number seven: “YHWH sees your heart towards others.” YHWH sees your heart towards others. And he wants to build something glorious and mighty. They're in Jerusalem, but that means he needs the people, his people there in Jerusalem to be at peace with one another. And the same thing would be true at our church. Jesus has promised to build his church, not just here with us, but Jesus is building his church all over the world, in all different languages, in all different nations. And as we interact with one another in the Church of Jesus Christ, we can't have evil in our heart towards one another; we need to be at peace with one another here at the church.
And so, God's making that very clear. Here's something specific I need you to do. I need you to think about how you're interacting with other people. And I need to make sure that you're speaking the truth to one another. And you don't have some kind of bad intention towards other people in your heart because I see where you're at with one another, says YHWH. And I hate it when you're lying to one another, when you're nice to somebody to their face, but you've got something evil in your heart. I hate that, declares the LORD. And then he has more to say about the fasting that came up in chapter 7. Look at Zechariah 7:18-19. “And the word of the LORD of hosts came to me saying,” so this was the same as Zechariah 7:1. Okay, God's got even more to say here. Maybe you thought that was the end of it. No, here comes some more. Zechariah 7:19, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah, seasons of joy, and gladness, and cheerful feasts, therefore love, truth, and peace.” So hey, let me get back to what you guys were saying about the fasting. Shall you continue fasting? Well, maybe fasting would have been appropriate during the time of judgment, but I'm now here to be good to the people in Jerusalem, to rebuild the city. So, we're done with fasting, and it's time now for feasting.
And so, let's get that down for number eight: “YHWH turns fasting into feasting.” There are times in life where we will be filled with sorrow, and we will go through many troubles and during those times, it may be appropriate to abstain from eating and really go to the Lord in prayer because our hearts have been broken. Our bodies are breaking down, and we need to seek the LORD, I need you to do something. LORD, I need you to help me, LORD. I need you to mend this relationship, said LORD. I need you to save me from this situation and protect me from evil, LORD. So, I'm crying out to the Lord. Well, let me tell you, in the end, as God rebuilds Jerusalem, as God's plan is revealed for his people, someday there will be no fasting for God's people; it will be all feasting for God's people. And God's saying, here, we're going from a time of fasting, to a time of feasting. And so, you can't go through the motions and try to be right with me through your external religion, religious acts. You’ve got to have the truth in your heart, and you’ve got to be at peace with one another. Because it's time to worship, it's time to praise, it's time for all of my people to come back to Jerusalem, and to celebrate and to give shouts of joy, and to remember how I've been with you in the history, how I'm with you now, and to remember the promises of how I will be with you in the future, that I am the God who was and who is and who is to come. And I always have a plan for my people, it is time to celebrate. And worship is what God says, good times are coming in Jerusalem. And you could go and you could read the rest of the book of Ezra. And you could see that revival breaks out in Jerusalem. You could go into the book of Nehemiah, and you could see one of the best examples of revival in the history of planet Earth, that God has good intentions towards his people. And that people they were crying because they had broken God's law. And it was like no, with the joy of the Lord is our strength, we need to rejoice, yes, we broke God's law, and he judged us. But these are days of renewal, and God is ready to bless his people again. And so let us celebrate. That's what he's saying to His people. There's a shift from how it's been the last seventy years to what's going to be ahead. And this is a shift that all of us can look forward to. When you're feeling that chronic pain, when you're feeling that loss of that relationship, when that trial that you're going through, you begin to wonder if that trial is ever going to end, I promise you this, there will be a day where you will be pain free, there will be a day when all of your relationships are at peace, and you will shout to God with unending joy. That's what God wants his people to know. And then he goes on to say, it's even better than you think in verse 20, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities, the inhabitants of one city shall go to another saying, let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts. I myself am going and many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favor of the LORD. And it's not just going to be that I'm bringing the people who are Jews back to Jerusalem. And it's not just going to be them who are feasting and celebrating me. I'm going to bring people from all kinds of different nations, I'm going to bring people from all over the world. And there's going to be people in city saying, did you hear what God's doing in Jerusalem? Did you hear how God's among his people? Do you want to hear they're having a feast? Do you want to go check it out? Let's go, I'm going, you come in with me. And there's going to be people from all the nations, all the peoples of the earth are going to gather in Jerusalem, to worship YHWH, and to celebrate his king that he will set in his faithful city on his holy mountain.
Now, let's get this down here for number nine: “YHWH will be the center of the nations.” YHWH will be the center of the nations. The World Peace that we long for, the righteous government that we long for, it will finally be represented when Jesus returns, and he establishes his kingdom. There will be one ruler who will unite all the nations of the world. It won't just be Jesus there among God's people, his chosen people, the Jews, it will be all the peoples going to celebrate that God is among his people. I want to be a part of it. I want God to bless me, like he's blessing his people. I want to experience the glory of God and his grace in my life. So, I'm going to Jerusalem. Are you coming with me? That's what people are going to do. And I love this last thing that God says this picture that he leaves these beaten down in the broken-down city of Jerusalem, these people who've been beaten down with hard work. And look what God says, “Thus says YHWH of hosts, in those days, ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you. I mean, what a picture for these people to think that someday they're going to be coming to the temple to worship the Lord, who's their reigning with his presence among them to behold his glory and ten people are going to be grabbing on to their robe saying. Is God with you? Are you going to worship God? Take me with you. I want to have what you have. If you're with God, I want to be with God, too. Can you imagine if you were coming into church this morning here in Huntington Beach, and somebody comes running at you in the parking lot, grabbing onto your clothes. Are you going to where Jesus is going to be worshipped? Take me with you. I want to go and be with you. Is Jesus there among you? I want to be where he is. I've heard that God is with you see, right now. You tell people, you're a Christian right now, you tell people you go to church right now, you tell, hey, I believe in Jesus, and I gather together with other people believe in Jesus. And we sing songs. And we hear the Scripture, and we worship the Lord, and you're trying to invite people and they're like, I'm not interested in that. I'm not going to try to offer people the words of eternal life, and they're not interested that things are going to change. Someday, people are going to be going to worship God, and people are going to just be clutching on to their clothes. Please take me with you. Let me in. I want to be there. I know God is with you. And I want to have what you have with God.
Number ten: “Everyone will see the value of being with YHWH.” Someday everyone will see the value of being with YHWH. Someday every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ, he is the LORD. He is the ruler, he is the one who has come to reign, and he's in Jerusalem, and I want to go see him. I want to go hear what he has to say with my own ears. And I want to see what he has to say, with my own eyes. And I know you're one of those people, you believe in Jesus, can I go with you people grabbing the robes of a Jews. I believe there's a future for the nation of Israel, what an interesting group of people that God has made his promises to, when nobody thought Abraham could have a son to now the nation that got kicked out of their land by the Romans, and yet, somehow, in the nineteen-hundreds, is now back established as a nation again. Hebrew, a dead language, now being spoken on the streets of Jerusalem again, even this crazy thing that happened, the holocaust that we all know about, there's an evil empire trying to kill the Jews. And yet God has his people right where he said they would be, and someday everybody's going to see when God comes back, and he's there with his people, everybody's going to say, oh, I want to go there. Because God is with you. See, God has a future, I believe, for the nation of Israel, God has a future, I believe, for all of his people. And the best is yet to come. And someday, what we believe by faith, everyone will see by sight that there is a God, and he's going to send his King on his holy mountain whose name is Jesus, and everybody's going to want to worship Jesus, because there will be no denying that he alone is the LORD.
And that's what we're building up towards. And see, that's it. If you look here at the end of chapter 9, it's like a whole different part of the book of Zechariah. And it's like an Oracle. And it comes much later in history. And so, God, I love that God's like, you guys need to keep rebuilding this temple because someday, people are going to be grabbing onto your robe, just wishing they could be here with you. What a picture to leave them with, as they continue the construction.
So, I hope you've been encouraged by Zechariah, and our study of it over the last eight weeks. What a joy it's been for me to go through this with you where God's telling his people who are in the middle of their construction project, you're going to finish this temple, and this is what I'm going to do in this city. And God wants to give those promises to increase their faith. And I would love to keep going through Zechariah, but the truth is, we’ve got to get back to our study of the book of Romans here at Compass, HB. And so that's what we're going to get back to. And we're going to pick it up right where we left off, in Romans 8:29. And I'm looking forward to that. But it is interesting that we went through Zechariah where they're rebuilding the temple, and those eight chapters while we're having this construction project going on across the parking lot. And we've had this delay with these air conditioning units that got resolved this week, when the engineers were able to switch up the model of units we're going to get. And so, I just want to take us over there right now, so that we could worship the LORD together and give thanks to him, just so we could have a little tangible way to see how Jesus is building his church. And it's not really about a building. It's about the people. It's about the people coming to worship God, coming to hear God's word. And I want to make sure that we're strong, and we're ready for what God is going to do. So let me pray for us. And then I will usher us over to the new auditorium. So, we can close in song over there together, pray with me.
Father in heaven, we thank you for all ten of these things that you said to the people that were there in Jerusalem in Zechariah 8, and we can see how that must have been just a big word for them, a huge vision for them, and how it must have encouraged them those who could believe what you were saying. Those who had the faith to see, is anything too hard for the Lord? I would imagine that some of them were greatly encouraged to be strong with their hands, I would imagine that some of them went to make things right with their neighbor. And they were just looking forward to the day when people would say, let me go with you to the presence of God. So, Father, I pray that you will take what you said to those people there in Zacharia’s day, and that you will put it on our hearts here in Huntington Beach today that you have a great plan for the future. And you are building your church among the nations. And someday all the people who believe in you, all the nations, will all gather to celebrate the feasts there in Jerusalem, in the New Jerusalem. And we will all behold your glory, and we will all worship you. And we want many people to be a part of that praise. We want many tongues to cry out the name of Jesus as LORD. We know every knee is going to bow. We want people to believe in Jesus now. And so, we pray that Jesus would keep fulfilling his promise. Keep doing what he said. And we pray that Jesus will build his church, we ask that Jesus will build his Church in Huntington Beach, and we ask that we will be strong in the building of the Church of Jesus, and that we will see Jesus do something here that is glorious, and awesome. Something that might seem too marvelous for us, but it's not too marvelous for Jesus. We pray this in his name. Amen.
Let's go across the parking lot, everybody. If you're in the back, you're now in the front Come with me.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.