Zechariah 1:1-6 Returning to God This Christmas

Zechariah 1:1-6 Returning to God This Christmas January 13, 2015

Zechariah 1:1-6 Returning to God This Christmas

A woman was doing her last-minute Christmas shopping at a crowded mall. She was tired of fighting the crowds. She was tired of standing in lines. She was tired of fighting her way down long aisles looking for a gift that had sold out days before.

Her arms were full of bulky packages when an elevator door opened. It was full. The occupants of the elevator grudgingly tightened ranks to allow a small space for her and her load.

As the doors closed, she blurted out, “Whoever is responsible for this whole Christmas thing ought to be arrested, strung up, and shot!”

A few others nodded their heads or grunted in agreement.

Then, from somewhere in the back of the elevator, came a single voice that said: “Don’t worry. They already crucified him.” [1]

REMEMBER

“In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo:” (Zechariah 1:1, HCSB)

The name of the prophet is Zechariah, which means “God remembers.” Berechiah means “God will bless.”

Iddo means “at the appointed time.”

So even in the background of the prophet, we see that God is going to remember to bless His people at the appointed time. So when the people see Zechariah and notice that he is speaking, the people will know that God has not forgotten them. God still remembers His people. During this Christmas time, we need to know that God does not forget about us. He still remembers us. The problem is that we have stopped remembering about Him.

Christmas should be a time of remembering. We should be remembering Jesus Christ and His birth. Instead of making it a consumer frenzy, we should take some time to remember Jesus Christ. In doing so, we remember that God has blessed us at an appointed time.

“When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,” (Galatians 4:4, HCSB)

God sent Jesus at just the right time. He didn’t forget His people. He sent His Son and set in motion the necessary path for people to be rejoined to Him.

However, it requires that we return to God.

RETURN

““The LORD was extremely angry with your ancestors.” (Zechariah 1:2, HCSB)

“So tell the people: This is what the LORD of Hosts says: Return to Me”—this is the declaration of the LORD of Hosts—“and I will return to you, says the LORD of Hosts.” (Zechariah 1:3, HCSB)

Christmas is a time of returning. We return to our roots. We return to our families. We return to our traditions. We return to a rhythm which occurs during the holidays. We finish school for a two-week break. We put up decorations. We spend time cooking meals. We attend various parties. These are all things we do in a return to a season that we look forward to.

God is asking you and me to return to Him.

Look at what happened to Israel. It is not much different than today:

We have seen that they became devoted to their private concerns, while the temple remained desolate; and we also know what sacred history relates, that they married heathen women, and also that many corruptions prevailed among them, so that religion almost disappeared. They indeed retained the name of God, but their impiety showed itself by clear signs. It is then no wonder that the Prophet sharply stimulates them to repentance. [2]

Just as He spoke through the prophet Zechariah, He speaks to us today. God wants us to return to Him. Christmas is the only time you hear about Jesus on television. You hear songs about His birth. You hear praises to God on secular radio. It is as if God is speaking to us today and saying: Return to Me. Remember these songs? I am speaking to you. Return to Me and I will return to you.

You see, many of us have this idea that God has to come to me first before I will take a step. Yet, with God, He requires faith from those who follow Him. When we stray away from Him, He wants us to return to Him.

REMIND

“Do not be like your ancestors; the earlier prophets proclaimed to them: This is what the LORD of Hosts says: Turn from your evil ways and your evil deeds. But they did not listen or pay attention to Me”—this is the LORD’s declaration.” (Zechariah 1:4, HCSB)

““Where are your ancestors now? And do the prophets live forever?” (Zechariah 1:5, HCSB)

God is reminding His people in Zechariah that in the past, when things were too hard and people strayed from God, they eventually wised up. They received reminders from the prophets. These vocal reminders are like text messages or voicemail today. You look on your phone. Hey, someone just said something to remind me. I have to be somewhere at 5pm. The prophets did the same thing. Hey, look up. God wants to speak to you. Confess your sins. Let Him heal you and help you.

God is reminding His people to pay attention to Him.

Zechariah reminds His people. The prophets don’t live forever. Your reminders won’t last. There is a time limit to the reminder. God won’t continue to speak a personal reminder forever. The reason is because He has already given the people His Word. The same is true for us. Sometimes we ask for a personal reminder. A post-it note from God about our situation. Then He does remind us: Hey, I sent you the Old and New Testament. You don’t a special vision from Me. You need to seek Me in my Word. When we come to His Word, we will see the need to repent.

REPENT

“But didn’t My words and My statutes that I commanded My servants the prophets overtake your ancestors? They repented and said: As the LORD of Hosts purposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so He has dealt with us.”” (Zechariah 1:6, HCSB)

God wants us to repent. He wants us to change. God doesn’t just want us to remember, to return, and to be reminded. God wants us to repent. He wants us to change.

We come to the end of another year. Just as the people of Israel needed a reminder to return, they also a reminder to repent. You and I need to come back to God and change our direction. It is a time of renewed focus on Him. You can re-start your devotion. In the next two weeks, I will send out a new Bible reading plan for the church. You can take that as first step to spend more time with God this coming year. It is good to take some time during the end of the year and re-evaluate your life. What have you done right? What have you done wrong? What do I need to change next year? How can I improve in my relationship with God? In other words, in what areas of my life do I need to repent and give up to God?

Repentance is saying that I will change direction. I will focus less on myself and more on God. In what areas of my life do I need to repent? In what areas of my life has God said: You need to work on this? You need to come to Me about this? You need help in this area. You need to trust Me more about this.

God uses people who grow and change. God doesn’t use stagnant people. He uses people who are growing, listening, obeying, changing, wanting, desiring, and asking for His help. As we come to this Christmas season, how do you want God to deal with you? Do you want Him to humble you? Or do you want to return to Him this Christmas with a humble asking for His guidance?

Return to God this Christmas and let Him deal with you in a wonderful way.

  1. Larson Craig, Brian. “Who’s To Blame For Christmas.” In 1000 Illustrations That Connect. Grand Rapids: Christianity Today International, 2008. December 20, 2014 at 10:09 AM
  2. Calvin, Jean, and John Owen. Commentaries on the Twelve Minor Prophets. Vol. 5. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 1950. 18. December 20, 2014 at 10:00 AM
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