Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse among the nations, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.” Zechariah 8:15 NIV
Jon Acuff wrote a book encouraging people to “Start” the task at hand. To begin doing something takes an incredible amount of inertia. Another group followed some of the “starters” to see who “finished” the task. The results inspired Jon Acuff so much, he wrote a follow-up book called “Finish” in which he highlights the characteristics of those who completed the task they started. It is well worth the read if you find yourself sitting among a large pile of unfinished “started” projects.
The prophet Zechariah lived among those who had returned from exile. The foundation for the temple had been laid, now it needed to be finished. The people were quite discouraged because of the lack of materials and the finished product would not look as nice as the temple in its former glory. And truthfully, they had a rhythm of life without the extra activities of temple worship.
The word from the Lord through Zechariah has a whole lot going on in this verse to help them finish the task.
- He mentions Judah and Israel. The significance of these two names is the reunification of the 12 tribes who were formerly divided. Some element of all twelve tribes had returned from exile. God sees them as one even among their differences. Understanding the value of who you are working with makes a big difference in your motivation to finish the task.
- The time of cursing was over. God’s word established the consequences for disobediences to Him as a nation. Continued rejection of God and His ways led to the His people being under a curse which would result in the scattering fo the nation. The last 70 years had accomplished the penalty for their disobedience. Now the people of Israel would return as one nation.
- “I will save you”. Salvation always includes the idea that the person needing saving is incapable of bringing about their own rescue. God is speaking to the reunified people that He will be the one doing the saving. Things happen when God gets involved in the saving business. He is active in by guarding them and providing for them
- “I will bless you”. The winds of adversity shift in the presence of God’s blessings. This doesn’t mean they were exempt from all harm, rather the tides of blessing were now always flowing in their direction. One man said he wants to remain under the spout where the glory runs out. God’s favor rests on His children.
- “Do not fear”. Check out all of the other previously written Fear Not Friday’s. Thoughts which are stimulated by fear can halt any movement forward. In fact, entertaining fears move one from impasse to retreat. This type of fear is partially removed when you remember God is saving you and He is blessing you.
- “Strengthen your hands”. God instructed the people through Zechariah to get busy working again. Though the task is overwhelming, it is time to finish the work.
The first task of good bible study is to understand the original meaning of the verse. The previous points were to establish what God was saying to the exiles who had returned about finishing the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. After studying and meditating on the original context, then you follow the application to how God wants to apply this verse to your own life. Most are not rebuilding a temple, but the verse does apply to each of us.
Our life of disobedience led us to live under the curse of the law. Being incapable of saving ourselves, God provided His Son, Jesus, to take away our sins. There is no other way for this curse to be removed. God does the saving.
After you have made a decision to be reconciled in your relationship with God, then you move into the favored status of His blessing. You choose to avoid sin, not because you are trying to earn His favor, you already have favored status. You follow the right paths because you enjoy living in open oneness and fellowship with God who loves you. To choose to sin again, breaks the clean and free aroma of access with the God who saved you. Blessing falls and remains upon those who are hungering and thirsting for God.
“Fear not, strengthen your hands”. God wants you to finish tasks. Some entertainment is a position of rest. Too much entertainment produces “idle hands”. Ask God to help you redeem your time so that you may become effective in completing the unfinished tasks.
On this Fear Not Friday get back to work. God is with you. God is for you. God is blessing you. Now put your hands to the plow to finish the good work you have started. You are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses cheering you on. They have already experienced the joy of finishing the task of “well done, good and faithful servant”. Don’t let fear of failure or any other fear stop you from using your strengthened hand to complete the work.
Blessings Love y’all