by Sean Mills
This week’s questions:
Read Zechariah 6 & 7.
1. Zechariah’s eighth and final vision (6: 1-8) is somewhat reminiscent of his first (1: 7-17). In both visions, there are colorful horses and the general theme of peace. You may recall from chapter one that ‘world’ peace came at the expense of God’s people; an infraction in which the nations would be punished. In this sense, we can say God was not at peace because of the situation of His people. In chapter six, on the other hand, God is at peace (lit. my spirit at rest) because judgement has come to Babylon. Does God still avenge His people today? If so, when and how? Does it happen in our time and place or will we only be avenged in glory?
2. In chapter six the Branch of God is mentioned again. We first noticed this figure in chapter three and we determined that when the Scriptures speak of God’s Branch, images of peace, harmony and prosperity are evoked. In chapter six, the Branch is responsible for building a new temple. Scholars debate whether the Branch was Jeshua, Zerubabbel or some other futuristic figure. For we who call ourselves Christian, the ultimate Branch is Jesus Christ. In Zechariah’s time the Branch mobilized the people of God to come together to work on a common goal; building a new temple. In our time, Jesus has given us some tasks to do as well. Some of these include tutoring adult learners, working with the youth in our community and providing support to returning residents. How is Jesus trying to mobilize your gifts and talents into Peace Fellowships’ various ministries? Is He? How will you come together with your brothers and sisters in our church to work on our common goals?
3. In chapter seven, God reminds the people of why they were chastised in the first place. We can think of it as a call to live right. “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other” (7: 9-10). Most of us are not in positions where we can emphatically judge unfairly or exploit the poor in some dehumanizing way. However, in what ways may we be implicitly allowing people living on the margins of society to be taken advantage of? How can we recognize this? What can we do to stop it?