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TO CHEW ON: "Therefore, thus says the Lord: 'I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy;
My house shall be built in it,' says the LORD of hosts,
'And a surveyor's line shall be stretched over Jerusalem ' "- Zechariah 1:16
In the city where I used to live, there was a massive commercial building that was never finished. Whenever I drove by it, I looked for signs of progress but saw only deterioration. The bare wood walls became grey and weathered in the rain. The tattered wrapping around unused building materials waved in the wind. Tall grass obscured the foundation. The scene in today's reading is similar.
On their return from a 70-year exile in Babylon, the Jews had enthusiastically begun to rebuild the temple. But their efforts soon slowed under Samaritan opposition. The Samaritans eventually got an order from the ruling Persian king for the Jews to stop construction altogether. And so for twelve years the temple sat there a half-built sorry sight and reminder of their inability to finish the job.
It was into this situation that Zechariah spoke. His prophecies rekindled hope. His beautiful vision of angelic riders reporting on the peace of the earth (Zechariah 8:8-11) was followed by encouragement to again take up the temple project because God had determined it would be built - Zechariah 1:16,17.
Besides this prophecy giving hope to those post-exilic Hebrews, we might apply its message to our lives. In her "Truth-In-Action through Zechariah" commentary, Leslyn Musch says about Zechariah 1:16,17:
"Understand that the New Testament believers are now the house of the Lord, the dwelling place of His Spirit. Receive God's mercy and comfort. Have confidence that the Lord will complete the good work He has begun in you (1 Corinthians 6:19; Philippians 1:6)" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1264.
If it seems to you that your plans, hopes and dreams have been half-realized, your life house has been abandoned mid-build for whatever reason (sickness, family troubles, financial ruin, etc.) take heart. God's word to you today is: "My house shall be built…" Put your hope in God who finishes everything He starts. Quoting the verse Musch refers to above:
"Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." - Philippians 1:6.
PRAYER: Dear God, I believe You will finish what you have started in my life. Show me how to cooperate with You to bring this about. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.