Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 207

Zechariah 1–5, Psalm 81

Bible text(s)

The LORD Calls his People to Return to him

1In the eighth month of the second year that Darius was emperor of Persia, the LORD gave this message to the prophet Zechariah, the son of Berechiah and grandson of Iddo. 2The LORD Almighty told Zechariah to say to the people, “I, the LORD, was very angry with your ancestors, 3but now I say to you, ‘Return to me, and I will return to you. 4Do not be like your ancestors. Long ago the prophets gave them my message, telling them not to live evil, sinful lives any longer. But they would not listen to me or obey me. 5Your ancestors and those prophets are no longer alive. 6Through my servants the prophets I gave your ancestors commands and warnings, but they disregarded them and suffered the consequences. Then they repented and acknowledged that I, the LORD Almighty, had punished them as they deserved and as I had determined to do.’ ”

The Prophet's Vision of the Horses

7In the second year that Darius was emperor, on the 24th day of the eleventh month (the month of Shebat), the LORD gave me a message in a vision at night. 8I saw someone riding a red horse. He had stopped among some myrtle trees in a valley, and behind him were other horses — red, dappled, and white. 9I asked him, “Sir, what do these horses mean?”

He answered, “I will show you what they mean. 10The LORD sent them to go and inspect the earth.”

11They reported to the angel: “We have been all over the world and have found that the whole world lies helpless and subdued.”

12Then the angel said, “Almighty LORD, you have been angry with Jerusalem and the cities of Judah for seventy years now. How much longer will it be before you show them mercy?”

13The LORD answered the angel with comforting words, 14and the angel told me to proclaim what the LORD Almighty had said: “I have a deep love and concern for Jerusalem, my holy city, 15and I am very angry with the nations that enjoy quiet and peace. For while I was holding back my anger against my people, those nations made the sufferings of my people worse. 16So I have come back to Jerusalem to show mercy to the city. My Temple will be restored, and the city will be rebuilt.”

17The angel also told me to proclaim: “The LORD Almighty says that his cities will be prosperous again and that he will once again help Jerusalem and claim the city as his own.”

The Vision of the Horns

18In another vision I saw four ox horns. 19I asked the angel that had been speaking to me, “What do these horns mean?”

He answered, “They stand for the world powers that have scattered the people of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”

20Then the LORD showed me four workers with hammers. 21I asked, “What have they come to do?”

He answered, “They have come to terrify and overthrow the nations that completely crushed the land of Judah and scattered its people.”

Zechariah 1GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Vision of the Measuring Line

1In another vision I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2“Where are you going?” I asked.

“To measure Jerusalem,” he answered, “to see how long and how wide it is.”

3Then I saw the angel who had been speaking to me step forward, and another angel came to meet him. 4The first one said to the other, “Run and tell that young man with the measuring line that there are going to be so many people and so much livestock in Jerusalem that it will be too big to have walls. 5The LORD has promised that he himself will be a wall of fire round the city to protect it and that he will live there in all his glory.”

The Exiles are Called to Come Home

6-7The LORD said to his people, “I scattered you in all directions. But now, you exiles, escape from Babylonia and return to Jerusalem. 8Anyone who strikes you strikes what is most precious to me.”

So the LORD Almighty sent me with this message for the nations that had plundered his people: 9“The LORD himself will fight against you, and you will be plundered by the people who were once your servants.”

When this happens, everyone will know that the LORD Almighty sent me.

10The LORD said, “Sing for joy, people of Jerusalem! I am coming to live among you!”

11At that time many nations will come to the LORD and become his people. He will live among you, and you will know that he has sent me to you. 12Once again Judah will be the special possession of the LORD in his sacred land, and Jerusalem will be the city he loves most of all.

13Be silent, everyone, in the presence of the LORD, for he is coming from his holy dwelling place.

Zechariah 2GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Prophet's Vision of the High Priest

1In another vision the LORD showed me the High Priest Joshua standing before the angel of the LORD. And there beside Joshua stood Satan, ready to bring an accusation against him. 2The angel of the LORD said to Satan, “May the LORD condemn you, Satan! May the LORD, who loves Jerusalem, condemn you. This man is like a stick snatched from the fire.”

3Joshua was standing there, wearing filthy clothes. 4The angel said to his heavenly attendants, “Take away the filthy clothes this man is wearing.” Then he said to Joshua, “I have taken away your sin and will give you new clothes to wear.”

5He commanded the attendants to put a clean turban on Joshua's head. They did so, and then they put the new clothes on him while the angel of the LORD stood there.

6Then the angel told Joshua that 7the LORD Almighty had said: “If you obey my laws and perform the duties I have assigned to you, then you will continue to be in charge of my Temple and its courts, and I will hear your prayers, just as I hear the prayers of the angels who are in my presence. 8Listen then, Joshua, you who are the High Priest; and listen, you fellow-priests of his, you that are the sign of a good future: I will reveal my servant, who is called The Branch! 9I am placing in front of Joshua a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave an inscription on it, and in a single day I will take away the sin of this land. 10When that day comes, each of you will invite his neighbour to come and enjoy peace and security, surrounded by your vineyards and fig trees.”

Zechariah 3GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Vision of the Lampstand

1The angel who had been speaking to me came again and roused me as if I had been sleeping. 2“What do you see?” he asked.

“A lampstand made of gold,” I answered. “At the top is a bowl for the oil. On the lampstand are seven lamps, each one with places for seven wicks. 3There are two olive trees beside the lampstand, one on each side of it.” 4Then I asked the angel, “What do these things stand for, sir?”

5“Don't you know?” he asked me.

“No, I don't, sir,” I replied.

10bThe angel said to me, “The seven lamps are the seven eyes of the LORD, which see all over the earth.”

11Then I asked him, “What do the two olive trees on either side of the lampstand mean? 12And what is the meaning of the two olive branches beside the two gold pipes from which the olive oil pours?”

13He asked me, “Don't you know?”

“No, I don't, sir,” I answered.

14Then he said, “These are the two men whom God has chosen and anointed to serve him, the Lord of the whole earth.”

God's Promise to Zerubbabel

6The angel told me to give Zerubbabel this message from the LORD: “You will succeed, not by military might or by your own strength, but by my spirit. 7Obstacles as great as mountains will disappear before you. You will rebuild the Temple, and as you put the last stone in place, the people will shout, ‘Beautiful, beautiful!’ ”

8Another message came to me from the LORD. 9He said, “Zerubbabel has laid the foundation of the Temple, and he will finish the building. When this happens, my people will know that it is I who sent you to them. 10aThey are disappointed because so little progress is being made. But they will see Zerubbabel continuing to build the Temple, and they will be glad.”

Zechariah 4GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Vision of the Flying Scroll

1I looked again, and this time I saw a scroll flying through the air. 2The angel asked me what I saw. I answered, “A scroll flying through the air; it is nine metres long and 4.5 metres wide.”

3Then he said to me, “On it is written the curse that is to go out over the whole land. On one side of the scroll it says that every thief will be removed from the land; and on the other side it says that everyone who tells lies under oath will also be taken away. 4The LORD Almighty says that he will send this curse out, and it will enter the house of every thief and the house of everyone who tells lies under oath. It will remain in their houses and leave them in ruins.”

The Vision of the Woman in the Basket

5The angel appeared again and said, “Look! Something else is coming!”

6“What is it?” I asked.

He replied, “It is a basket, and it stands for the sin of the whole land.”

7The basket had a lid made of lead. As I watched, the lid was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman!

8The angel said, “This woman represents wickedness.” Then he pushed her down into the basket and put the lid back down. 9I looked up and saw two women flying towards me with powerful wings like those of a stork. They picked up the basket and flew off with it.

10I asked the angel, “Where are they taking it?”

11He answered, “To Babylonia, where they will build a temple for it. When the temple is finished, the basket will be placed there to be worshipped.”

Zechariah 5GNBOpen in Bible reader

A Song for a Festival

1Shout for joy to God our defender;

sing praise to the God of Jacob!

2Start the music and beat the tambourines;

play pleasant music on the harps and the lyres.

3Blow the trumpet for the festival,

when the moon is new and when the moon is full.

4This is the law in Israel,

an order from the God of Jacob.

5He gave it to the people of Israel

when he attacked the land of Egypt.

I hear an unknown voice saying,

6“I took the burdens off your backs;

I let you put down your loads of bricks.

7When you were in trouble, you called to me, and I saved you.

From my hiding place in the storm, I answered you.

I put you to the test at the springs of Meribah.

8Listen, my people, to my warning;

Israel, how I wish you would listen to me!

9You must never worship another god.

10I am the LORD your God,

who brought you out of Egypt.

Open your mouth, and I will feed you.

11“But my people would not listen to me;

Israel would not obey me.

12So I let them go their stubborn ways

and do whatever they wanted.

13How I wish my people would listen to me;

how I wish they would obey me!

14I would quickly defeat their enemies

and conquer all their foes.

15Those who hate me would bow in fear before me;

their punishment would last for ever.

16But I would feed you with the finest wheat

and satisfy you with wild honey.”

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
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