December 25

Zechariah 8:1-23

What a wonderful chapter that prophecies – not only the return of Israel to her land (Zechariah 8:8), but the return of Jesus to His land (Zechariah 8:3).

The bulk of this chapter describes events that take place during the Millennial Reign of Christ…but there are other things mingled in…for example, the completion of the Temple in the days of Zechariah, Zerubbabel, and Joshua.

We all need that encouragement to be strong and finish the work God has for us. Family things, ministry things, it’s all our part in the Great work within the Kingdom of God. Zechariah’s words are applicable to all of us!

Zechariah 8:9 (NKJV) “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Let your hands be strong, you who have been hearing in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who spoke in the day the foundation was laid for the house of the LORD of hosts, that the temple might be built.”

(See also 1 Corinthians 3:5-16)

Zechariah repeats that message in 8:13b, “…so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, let your hands be strong.”

God had determined to punish Jerusalem (which He did), but God also determined to bless Jerusalem, and He would (Zechariah 8:14-15). He had certain expectations for the people – that they’d love their neighbors. It’s a word for us as well!

Zechariah 8:16–17 (NKJV) “These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace; 17 Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; and do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,’ says the LORD.”

Friend, one day the fasting will turn to feasting. One day Jesus will reign as King in Jerusalem and all the nations will flow to seek Him and pray before Him (Zechariah 8:20-22). Isn’t that awesome! So, even though life is hard, and you may be going through tremendous trials today, I pray that these words of the hope of heaven found in Him would encourage you and carry you through.

Revelation 16:1-21

7 bowls of wrath will be poured out on the earth and take us even closer to the end – something painful to read, and yet joyful to realize. As I hear of – and see so much evil taking place today, mindless murder, widespread war, mass-shootings of random lives – abortion, sexual perversion, confusion (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg), I see ever so clearly that the only hope for evil to end, is for Jesus to come. That’s what this is all about! You might remember the very first words of this, the final book of the Bible, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ…” (Revelation 1:1). These bowls make the message loud and clear that God is holy, and He really will judge sin.

Imagine – scores of sores on all unbelievers, the ocean turns to blood, the fresh water springs and rivers do too, the sun-screen is gone and the world is scorched with its heat. You would figure that the people of this planet would fear God, but they refuse to repent and give Him the glory He deserves. So God’s “outreach” of judgment continues with darkness and pain, and yet they still refuse to repent of their deeds!

The 6th bowl is interesting in that it allows the nations of the world to be deceived by devilish demons, the unholy trinity of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet – they somehow seduce the world into thinking that if they unite, they can actually fight Jesus Christ.

God’s judgment is seen in the drying up of the Euphrates river, which opens the door for the armies of the world to march to their death. This is the battle of Armageddon.

Warren Wiersbe comments, “Armageddon (Rev. 16:16) is Hebrew for “the hill of Megiddo”; and Megiddo means “place of slaughter.” It is the plain in the Holy Land where Barak defeated the Canaanites (Judges 5:19) and Gideon the Midianites (Judges 7). King Saul fought his last battle there (1 Samuel 31). One of the greatest natural battlefields in the world, it is where the Antichrist will gather the world’s armies to fight against Jesus Christ (Isaiah 24; Joel 3; Zechariah 12–14). Revelation 19:11–21 records the outcome.”

Revelation 16:15 is another one of those straight-out reminders – I need to be ready for the return of Jesus Christ. I need to be living in the light of His eminent return. We can sense the season, but we don’t know the day or the hour, He’s coming unexpectedly, I need to always be watching and wearing the righteousness of Christ.

Revelation 16:15 (NKJV) “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”

The 7th bowl ushers in an earthquake infinitely beyond any other on the Richter scale, it rocks the world to the point that no island or mountain is found on the planet. Our prayers are answered, Babylon is judged, the hail falls from heaven weighing-in somewhere between 75 to 100 pounds! Wow!

Psalm 144:1-15

David praises God before the battle, during the battle, and after the battle.

Before the battle God trains us for war (Psalm 144:1).

During the battle God is everything to us and for us. He’s our lovingkindness, our fortress, our high tower, our deliverer. Even though we’re nothing but bad, small, and insignificant in comparison to God, He values us and is mindful of us individually (Psalm 144:2-3).

David cares about Israel nationally and it’s reflected in his prayers.

David knows the difference it makes upon our children for good – a godly nation, leading to a godly generation.

Psalm 144:12 (NKJV) “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style.”

David even cares about the health of the nation financially, its economy (Psalm 144:13-14).

It’s all dependent upon how we’re doing spiritually. Is our God the LORD? The God of the Bible? If so, we will be blessed beyond measure!

Psalm 144:15 (NKJV) “Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!”

Proverbs 30:29-31

Proverbs 30:29-31 (NKJV) “There are three things which are majestic in pace, yes, four which are stately in walk: 30 A lion, which is mighty among beasts and does not turn away from any; 31 A greyhound, a male goat also, and a king whose troops are with him.”

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “In contrast with lowly creatures like the four in verses 25–28 are those that appear noble in their bearing and walk.”

Agur mentions four things that are stately in stride and strut:

1. In contrast to smaller or lowly creatures we have the majestic lion – king of the jungle, who never backs down.

2. Most other translations speak of a strutting rooster, rather than a greyhound. In the Hebrew language it literally says, “girded of waist.”

3. A male goat – arrogant in appearance.

4. A king whose troops are with him – seemingly invincible with his supportive army (I think of David and his mighty men).

I appreciate the application of Expositor’s commentary, “The lion, greyhound, and male goat are regal because God made them that way. The dog is not a lion and the goat is not a beautiful dog, but each has its own kind of honor. The king is regal because of his office and his official trappings (such as an army). If you exalt yourself (Proverbs 30:32), you will have only artificial honor. If you let God fulfill in you the purpose for which He made you, you will have true honor.”

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