Read Zechariah 1:1-21
The Minor Prophets (Zechariah is one) are some of the least read and least understood books of the Bible.
People may have a feel for the unfolding history of Israel from the days of the patriarchs to the Exodus from Egypt. They may have a general grasp of Joshua and the conquest of the land, or of the judges and the cycles of rebellion and deliverance. They may have an understanding of the kings like Saul, David, Solomon, or perhaps even of the divided kingdom: Israel and Judah. They may even get the idea of Assyrian and Babylonian exile. But the Minor Prophets? Many are unsure of the part they play in the whole of God’s story.
Indeed, the Minor Prophets are not easy books. Although we refer to them with one overarching title – “the Minor Prophets” – they represent a diversity of authors, timeframes, recipients, and reasons for writing. These are important if we are to grasp their chronological significance and their timeless application.
With the first chapter of Zechariah in mind, let’s attempt to understand those four important details about the book.
Authorship: The book of Zechariah was named after its author. Of the numerous “Zechariahs” we find in the Old Testament, this man was a priest in Israel. His very name means “the Lord remembers.”
Date: Zechariah’s prophecies were given after the Babylonian exile; probably around 515 B.C. You see, many of God’s people had been carted off by the Babylonians, people from an enemy nation. They had been unable to return for 70 years. Finally, many of the Jewish exiles, or at least their descendants (including Zechariah), returned to Jerusalem. But the city had been razed.
Recipients: Zechariah wrote, then, to fellow Jews in and around Jerusalem.Although they had settled back into life, they needed inspiration. Zechariah wrote to invite people to rise up from their apathy, return to God, and rebuild the temple. In many ways, he wrote to remind them of the reality expressed by his name.
The Lord does remember His people! In fact, as we will see, Zechariah points perhaps more directly to Jesus’ first coming than any other Old Testament book.
Is there any spiritual apathy in your life? Would you pause now and invite God to rekindle passion for Him? The Lord remembers!