Turning a Curse Into a Blessing (Daily Portion 10324)
Earlier in the passage that includes chapters 7 and 8 of Zechariah, the Lord had used a question about continuing one of the fasts as a basis to reprove the Jews for their insincerity. Now, He tells them that He has chosen to bless them. And more, there is coming a time when all the fasts will be turned to cheerful feasts. As Judah and Israel have been a curse among the nations, so they will be a blessing. Once again, God shows His grace and mercy.
What Does It Say?
- The Lord tells the Jews, “so will I save you, and ye shall be a __________: fear not, but let your hands be ___________.
- “Speak ye every man the _________ to his neighbour.”
- They are to let none of them ___________ evil in their hearts.
- The fasts shall be to the house of Judah ________ and gladness, and cheerful __________.
- The tie will come when the inhabitants of one city will say, Let us go speedily to ________ before the Lord and to _________ the Lord of hosts.
What Does It Mean?
- In verse 16, Zechariah tells them to “execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates.” In verse 19, the Lord tells them, “therefore love the truth and peace.” See also 2 Kings 20:19; Esther 9:30; Jeremiah 33:6. God evidently sees a connection between truth and peace. How do you think the two are connected? Is it possible to have one without the other? Why or why not?
- This section of Zechariah began with a question about the fast in the fifth month (Zechariah 7:3). But in Zechariah 8:19, God mentions special fasts in four different months. We are not told here what the fasts were for, but they seem to be connected with the Babylonian captivity (they wanted to know if they were needed now that they were being allowed to return to their homes – Zechariah 7:3-5). Jewish tradition also connects all of these fasts with the tragedies surrounding the time of the captivity. To see what the fasts may have commemorated, carefully read the entire chapter of 2 Kings 25. Pay attention to the timing of the events and what month they occurred. What tragic event happened in the fourth month? Fifth? Seventh? Tenth?
- Read verse 23. What is happening here? Why is it happening? When do you think this will happen?
What Does It Mean to Me?
- As God made the Jews a curse, so He will make them a blessing (v.13). As He repented not from punishing them, so He will not repent from His decision to bless them (v.14). God has the ability to turn a curse into a blessing (see Deuteronomy 23:5; Nehemiah 13:2; Matthew 5:44). What are some examples of God turning a curse into a blessing? How have you seen in your life or in the lives of those you know times when God has taken something that seemed bad (a curse) and turned it into something good (a blessing)?
- The Lord tells His people to “love no false oath” (v.17). What is a false oath? How would you define it? What do you think it means to love a false oath? What kinds of things should this warn us about in our own lives?