Scripture Focus: Zechariah 8.12-13
12 “The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people. 13 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.”
Reflection: From a Curse to a Blessing
By John Tillman
God promised to bless the nations through Abraham. (Genesis 12.1-3; 22.17-18) The purpose of Israel and Judah was to be a blessing to the whole world. But they became a curse. God said to Adam and Eve in the garden, “Cursed is the ground because of you.” (Genesis 3.17) His words to Israel and Judah as they went into exile in Assyria and Babylon were similar.
Their sin cursed the ground. Their selfishness, greed, and idolatry poisoned the land. The blood of the poor ran in the streets because of greed. Orphans and widows found no justice or help. Governments sought alliances and greater worldly power rather than seeking the Lord. (Jeremiah 2.34, 2 Kings 21.16, Ezekiel 9.8-10; Hosea 6.8-9)
The practices of human empires overwhelmed leaders’ character and they led the people to death and destruction. The mildew of the world grew on the vines and the whole field had to be burned to prevent its spread.
God’s nature as a cultivator, a gardener, is seen in this passage. He has cleansed the ground and given it rest from the abuses of the previous generation. Prior generations looked at a gold-covered Temple and presumed God’s presence would never allow them to be harmed. This generation was attuned to God’s returning presence and prioritized the building of a Temple. The complacency of the past has been replaced with thrilling anticipation and appreciation for God’s presence.
This people’s faith is a seed ready to be planted. God promises that a healthy vine will grow, and fruit will swell the branches. The blessings of this produce will be shared not only with God’s people but with all the nations.
Zechariah challenged the people to prioritize the Temple, to speak the truth to each other, and to ensure justice for the oppressed in their courts. They are warned against planning evil against one another and against swearing falsely.
These are not just principles for rebuilding ancient Jerusalem. They are for us. Here in our cities and countries, we must prioritize Jesus, who is our Temple, our access to God. We must be people devoted to truth and upholders of justice. In all we do, we must work good in the world for others and speak truthfully not just about the gospel but about everything else.
These principles will serve us well as we build little outposts (or branches) of the Kingdom of God right where we live and work.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Sing to the Lord and bless his Name; proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations and his wonders among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; he is more to be feared than all gods. — Psalm 96.2-4
Zechariah 8 (Listen – 3:33)
Matthew 5 (Listen – 6:03)
Read more about Defilement, Deconstruction, and Reconstruction
If the mold spread, the first step was to remove only the affected stones. But if the mold returned, the entire house had to be deconstructed
Read more about The Branch and the Branches
Christ’s righteousness flows into us and we are able to create holy space, shade under the limbs of God’s tree.