Zechariah 14:12-21 (CLICK HERE FOR BIBLE VERSES)

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Zechariah 14:12-21.  As usual, I encourage you to read the passage yourself first and see what you can glean with the Holy Spirit’s help, then read the GAME sharing below.  Let’s go!

Zechariah 14:12-13 (NIV) 
12 This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.
13 On that day men will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. Each man will seize the hand of another, and they will attack each other.

On verses 12-13:  Here Zechariah continues to describe what the end times will look like when Jesus the Messiah comes again.  What will happen “on that day” (a phrase repeated 15 times in chapters 12-14)?  In verses 1-11, Zechariah described how the city of Jerusalem will be rescued and transformed.  Now in these verses Zechariah describes what will happen to the nations who tried to attack Jerusalem.  He says their flesh, their eyes and their tongues will rot (v12).  In addition, there will be great panic, and they will seize each other by the hand and attack one another (v13).

What can we learn from this? A couple lessons:

1. When you fight against God’s people (represented by Jerusalem), you fight against God, who is determined to defend and avenge His people (Romans 12:19).

2. When you fight against God and God’s people, five things will happen:
–  you will die, separated from the life of God (“flesh will rot”)
–  you will have eyes but cannot see.  Your vision will be blinded (“eyes will rot in their sockets”)
–  you will end up eating your words and being held accountable for false and careless words you said (“tongues will rot in their mouths”)
–  you will live in much fear.  There will be no peace (“great panic”)
–  you will cling to people for intimacy and friendship and yet those relationships will be filled with fighting and distrust (“seize each other by the hand and attack one another”).

You can never win when you fight against God.

Zechariah 14:14 (NIV) 
14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected–great quantities of gold and silver and clothing.

On verse 14:  In prior verses, the nations attacked and plundered Jerusalem (14:1-2).  Now in a great reversal of fortunes, God allows Jerusalem to plunder the nations (v14), similar to how the Israelites plundered the Egyptians before they left Egypt (Exodus 12:36).

Zechariah 14:15 (NIV) 
15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.

On verse 15:  The fact that a similar plague strikes the nations’ livestock shows that when you’re not right with God, the way you handle what God places in your care — including your opportunities, relationships, talents, resources and assets — will not be right either.

Zechariah 14:16 (NIV) 
16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. 

On verse 16:  Zechariah says that those who survive the plague in verses 12-13 will become part of God’s people and worship the Lord together with those in Jerusalem.  They will celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.  Why specifically the Feast of Tabernacles, which celebrates God’s provision and goodness at harvest time?  Perhaps because the Feast of Tabernacles was the most exciting feast of the Jewish calendar, or maybe because in this case, these foreigners-turned-people-of-God are the Lord’s harvest!

In any event, one of the running themes of the book of Zechariah is that people who are far from God will be brought close to Him and belong to Him.  Praise God that through Jesus Christ we have been brought close to God and belong to Him.

Zechariah 14:17-19 (NIV) 
17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain.
18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. 

On verses 17-19:  Zechariah warns that those who do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord will have no rain.  What can we learn from this?  When there’s a lack of thanksgiving and worship in your life, you’ll see a lack of blessing.  Our quality of life depends on how we worship the Lord.  If we are not in the habit of worshiping and thanking God as He requires, the quality of our lives — our level of happiness, relationship health, peace and blessing — will be minimal.   But if we are in the habit of giving God worship and thanks regularly together with God’s people, our lives will be full of God’s blessing.  Want quality of life?  Give God quality worship.

Zechariah 14:20-21 (NIV) 
20 On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar.
21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD Almighty.

On verses 20-21:  According to the Jewish law, the words “Holy to the Lord” were to be inscribed on things such as the high priest’s turban when he entered the presence of the Lord (Exodus 28:36).  But when Jesus comes again to establish His kingdom, Zechariah says that the words “Holy to the Lord” will be inscribed on ordinary items like bells on horses and cooking pots (v20).  Zechariah says that “every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty” (v21) such that even an ordinary pot will be like a sacred bowl placed in front of the altar (v20).

What can we learn from this?  When Jesus comes and rules your life, you’ll find that He takes ordinary situations and turns them into opportunities to worship.  Ordinary situations become reminders of God’s goodness.  Ordinary moments become sacred moments.  So don’t see worship as something you do in church only.  Worship is a lifestyle where we turn even the most ordinary situations into opportunities to worship God.  As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink, do it all for the glory of God.”

Whether you’re at home, at work, at school, on the road, with people, on your own, you can turn any ordinary moment into a moment of worship when you look to God with a humble and thankful heart and acknowledge His presence.  When you have a heart set on worshiping God, you can even turn ordinary things and even things that are traditionally used for ignoble purposes (like horses used for war) into instruments of worship.

Zechariah 14:21 (NIV) 
21 …And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD Almighty.

On verse 21b:  What does Zechariah mean when he says “there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty”?  Many scholars agree that the term “Canaanite” is not referring specifically to people from Canaan, as if to say that those physically from the land of Canaan cannot be part of God’s kingdom.  Rather, “Canaanite” probably has two layers of meaning to it.  First, “Canaanite” is a reference to any person who rejects the Lord; such a person cannot enter Christ’s kingdom.  Second, “Canaanite” can also be translated “merchant”.  That means that, just as Jesus drove out the money changers from the temple (Matthew 21:12-13), Jesus is returning to establish a kingdom where greed has no place.

This concludes our look at the book of Zechariah.  If you want to take your understanding and appreciation of God’s Word to another level, take a few minutes and write down your answer to this question:  What were the most important lessons you learned from the book of Zechariah?  How does God want you to live your life differently based on what you learned in Zechariah?

Lord Jesus, thank You for all the powerful lessons we’ve learned from the book of Zechariah.  It’s amazing that 500 years before You first came to earth, You had already given Zechariah not just a vision for Your first coming, but Your second coming too.  Thank You for using Zechariah not only to build the temple in 500 B.C., but to build up Your people in the 21st century.  May You use these lessons we’ve been learning in Zechariah to build us Your people into the temple we were made to be.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

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