In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of Yahweh came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, son of Iddo, saying, 2 “Yahweh was very angry with your ancestors. 3 You must say to them: ‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts: “Return to me,” declares Yahweh of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says Yahweh of hosts. 4 “Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts: “Return from your evil ways and your evil deeds!” ’ But they did not hear and they did not pay attention to me,” declares Yahweh. 5 “Your ancestors, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 However, did not my words and my regulations which I commanded my servants the prophets overtake your ancestors? And they repented and said, ‘Yahweh of hosts planned to do with us according to our ways, and according to our deeds so he has dealt with us.’ ” ’ ”
Zechariah’s First Vision
7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of Yahweh came to Zechariah the prophet, son of Berekiah, son of Iddo, saying, 8 I had a vision in the night, and look, a man riding on a red horse. And he was standing between the myrtle shrubs that were in the ravine, and behind him were red, reddish-brown, and white horses. 9 And I asked, “What are these, my lord?” And the angel who was talking with me said, “I will show you what these are.” 10 And the man standing between the myrtle shrubs answered and said, “These are those whom Yahweh has sent to patrol the earth.” 11 And they answered the angel of Yahweh who was standing between the myrtle shrubs, and they said, “We have patrolled the earth, and look, all the earth is dwelling in peace.” 12 The angel of Yahweh answered and said, “O Yahweh of hosts, how long will you have no compassion on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which you showed fury these seventy years?” 13 With gracious and comforting words Yahweh answered the angel who was talking with me. 14 And the angel who was talking with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts: “I am very jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion! 15 And I am extremely angry with the nations that are at ease, for while I was a little angry, they furthered disaster.” 16 Therefore, thus says Yahweh: “I have returned to Jerusalem with compassion. My temple will be built in it,” declares Yahweh of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem.” ’ 17 Proclaim again, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts: “My cities shall again overflow from prosperity, and Yahweh will comfort Zion again, and he will choose Jerusalem again.” ’ ”
Zechariah’s Second Vision
18 And I looked up and I saw, and look, there were four horns! 19 And I said to the angel who was talking with me, “What are these?” And he said to me, “These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” 20 Then Yahweh showed me four skilled craftsmen, 21 and I asked, “What are these coming to do?” And he answered, saying, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no man lifted up his head; but these have come to frighten them, to strike down the horns of the nations that lifted a horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.”
Zechariah’s Third Vision
2 And I looked up and I saw, and look, a man, and in his hand was a measuring rope! 2 And I asked, “Where are you going?” And he answered me, “To measure Jerusalem to see what is its width and what is its length.” 3 And look, the angel who was talking to me was coming forward, and another angel was coming forward to meet him. 4 And he said to him, “Run, say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited like villages without walls because of the multitude of people and animals in its midst. 5 And I will be for it a wall of fire all around,’ declares Yahweh, ‘and I will be the glory in its midst.’ ”
6 “Woe! Woe! Flee from the land of the north,” declares Yahweh, “for I have scattered you like the four winds of the heavens,” declares Yahweh. 7 “Woe, Zion! Escape, you inhabitants of the daughter of Babylon!” 8 For thus said Yahweh of hosts, after glory he sent me against the nations plundering you: Truly, the one touching you is touching the apple of his eye. 9 “Yes, look! I am going to wave my hand against them, and they will become plunder for their servants, and you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent me. 10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for look, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares Yahweh. 11 “Many nations will join themselves to Yahweh on that day, and they will be my people, and I will dwell in your midst. And you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent me to you. 12 And Yahweh will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and he will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be silent, all people, before Yahweh, for he is roused from his holy dwelling.”
Paul Travels on to Jerusalem
21 And it happened that after we tore ourselves away from them, we put out to sea, and running a straight course we came to Cos and on the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 And finding a ship that was crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and put out to sea. 3 And after we sighted Cyprus and left it behind on the port side, we sailed to Syria and arrived at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. 4 And we stayed there seven days after we found the disciples, who kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem. 5 And it happened that when our days were over, we departed and went on our way, while all of them accompanied us, together with their wives and children, as far as outside the city. And after falling to our knees on the beach and praying, 6 we said farewell to one another and embarked in the ship, and they returned to their own homes.
7 And when we had completed the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais. And after we greeted the brothers, we stayed one day with them. 8 And on the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 (Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.)
10 And while we were staying there many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And he came to us and took Paul’s belt. Tying up his own feet and hands, he said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man whose belt this is, and will deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ” 12 And when we heard these things, both we and the local residents urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul replied, “What are you doing weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be tied up, but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus!” 14 And because he would not be persuaded, we remained silent, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”
15 So after these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 And some of the disciples from Caesarea also traveled together with us, bringing us to a certain Mnason of Cyprus, a disciple of long standing, with whom we were to be entertained as guests.
Paul Visits the Leaders of the Jerusalem Church
17 And when we came to Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us gladly. 18 And on the next day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 And after greeting them, he began to relate one after the other the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard this, they began to glorify God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many ten thousands there are among the Jews who have believed, and they are all zealous adherents of the law. 21 And they have been informed about you that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles the abandonment of Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or to live according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? Doubtless they will all hear that you have come! 23 Therefore do this that we tell you: we have four men who have taken a vow upon themselves. 24 Take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses so that they can shave their heads, and everyone will know that the things which they had been informed about you are nothing, but you yourself also agree with observing the law. 25 But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter after deciding they should avoid food sacrificed to idols and blood and what has been strangled and sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took along the men on the next day, and after he had purified himself together with them, he entered into the temple courts, announcing the completion of the days of purification until the time the offering would be presented on behalf of each one of them.
12 “But from where will wisdom be found?
And where in the world is the place of understanding?
13 A human being does not know its proper value,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 “Refined gold cannot be gotten in its place,
and silver cannot be weighed out as its price.
16 It cannot be bought for the gold of Ophir,
for precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot be compared with it,
and its substitution cannot be an ornament of refined gold.
18 Black corals and crystal will not be mentioned,
and wisdom’s price is more than red corals.
19 The topaz of Cush cannot be compared with it;
it cannot be bought for pure gold.
20 Indeed, from where does wisdom come?
And where in the world is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living,
and it is concealed from the birds of the heaven.
22 Abaddon and Death say,
‘We heard its rumor with our ears.’
23 “God understands its way,
and he knows its place,
24 for he himself looks to the end of the earth;
he sees under all the heaven.
25 When he gave weight to the wind
and he apportioned the waters by measure,
26 when he made a rule for the rain
and a way for the thunder’s lightning bolt,
27 then he saw it and talked about it;
he established it, and moreover, he explored it.
28 And to the human beings he said,
‘Look, the fear of the Lord is wisdom,
and to depart from evil is understanding.’ ”
When we say, “God is gracious; God is kind,” do we fully comprehend the extent of God’s graciousness and kindness toward us? We glimpse it in Zechariah: “You must say to them: ‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts: “Return to me,” declares Yahweh of hosts, “and I will return to you,” ’ says Yahweh of hosts” (Zech 1:2–3).
An astounding reversal is hidden in these words, couched in a dialogue expressing how terribly God’s people have treated Him (Zech 1:4–6). By relying on their ancestors’ wisdom, God’s people are marching toward their own destruction: “Your ancestors, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever?” (Zech 1:5). Instead of wiping them from the face of earth or banishing them from relationship with Him, however, God acts graciously: “Return to me … and I will return to you” (Zech 1:3). It’s an incredibly generous offer, one that the people accept (Zech 1:6).
But this is not the end of the journey. Zechariah’s vision goes on to illustrate painful times on the horizon before moving once again to hope (Zech 2:1–13). Ultimately, Yahweh remarks: “Many nations will join themselves to Yahweh on that day, and they will be my people, and I will dwell in your midst. And you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent me to you. And Yahweh will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and he will again choose Jerusalem” (Zech 2:11–12).
The one “that Yahweh of hosts has sent” is likely a reference to the Messiah. Here Yahweh moves from welcoming only the people of Israel to welcoming all people into His kingdom. Anyone can return to Him or come to Him—because that is what He desires. His graciousness and kindness are truly beyond measure.
What graciousness and kindness are you grateful for today?
Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord
Publisher: Lexham Press
Publication Date: 2012
This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.