How many of us need encouragement today? As we go through the challenges and trials of life we need every ounce of encouragement. If we see the need of encouragement in our lives, are we encouraging others? “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement… It is easy to laugh at men’s ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.” (William Barclay, Letter to the Hebrews).
The remnant Jews who came home from exile faced the daunting task of rebuilding the temple. God knew how to encourage His people. He sent His prophet Zechariah to deliver one of the most encouraging messages they have received as a nation—a message of future hope and glory.
Zechariah, whose name means “the LORD remembers,” was a contemporary of Haggai. Jewish tradition says that he as a priest belonged to a group called the Great Synagogue (later known as the Sanhedrin), a group of men formed by Nehemiah and presided by Ezra. Zechariah’s name perfectly describes one of God’s attributes—His faithfulness. God through the ages has not forgotten His covenant with His people. They were reminded that the task of rebuilding the temple cannot be accomplished by their own strength but only through the Spirit of GOD (Zechariah 4:6).
The book of Zechariah contains not only a message of hope and call to repentance but also of eight night visions (Zechariah 1:7-6:15). Prophecies regarding the Messiah was included—His rejection during the first advent (Zechariah 9-11; especially 9:9, 11:4-13; 12:10) and His coming millennial reign as the Just and Righteous King during the second advent (Zechariah 12-14).
The messages of Zechariah were designed to encourage the people of Judah by giving them a glimpse of their future glory as promised by God. We Christians have the same hope as promised by the Lord Jesus. The Apostle Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
Are you so bombarded with trials that you feel down and discouraged? The Lord Jesus Christ has promised to us who have placed our trust in Him a future of hope and glory in Heaven (John 14:1-4). We will be forever with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).