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Restoration, Repentance and Blessing

"In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo: “The Lord was extremely angry with your ancestors. So tell the people: This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Return to Me”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts—“and I will return to you, says the Lord of Hosts. Do not be like your ancestors; the earlier prophets proclaimed to them: This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Turn from your evil ways and your evil deeds. But they did not listen or pay attention to Me”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “Where are your ancestors now? And do the prophets live forever? But didn’t My words and My statutes that I commanded My servants the prophets overtake your ancestors? They repented and said: As the Lord of Hosts purposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so He has dealt with us."
Zechariah 1:1-6

Many Christians today, hold the vision of God showering His people with the riches of divine treasure. However, this must first be prefaced by the clear message that travels parallel down the road, hand in hand with divine blessings. The eternal truth which the opening oracle enunciates is one which runs throughout the revealed ways of God’s dealings with man. The appropriation and enjoyment of God’s promised blessings must be preceded by genuine, true repentance. And, only based upon that heart changing repentance will Zechariah’s prophecies of assurance and blessing, centered in the Messiah be offered and promised.
Showers of Blessing | God Speaking

Beloved, His Divine grace cannot be divorced from our human responsibility. The bestowing of His riches of covenant grace are for those who are genuinely willing to turn away from sin to follow God alone. If the clarion call to repentance is not individually and corporately heeded by individual and church-wide repentance, then neither will the blessings which Zechariah proclaims throughout this book be ours. The message in the text, is a clear and powerful one; that until we are ready to obey God rather than self , rather than the world, we have no right to ask God to open up His storehouse and shower His blessings upon us! The way of the Lord must be prepared before the Lord comes down.

Today's Message: Restoration Repentance and Blessing

Good Morning Beloved,

How blessed are we today, we be gathered together
to receive this marvelous, rich truth found in the book of Zechariah. Such wonderful truths, which
our Loving Father, has given us today.

I'd like for all of us, however, to realize, who it is that received this call to repentance. It was the faithful remnant who returned to the Promised Land. Those afar off would not have this opportunity to hear the divine call and therefore, would lose the opportunity to heed it. I believe, we can all
learn a great deal from this rich text.

I'd like to invite all of you now, to open your Bibles to Zechariah chapter 1, as we begin our study on verses 1 through 6. Zechariah 1:1-6

Allow me to read from our text, as we begin, "In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo: “The Lord was extremely angry with your ancestors. So tell the people: This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Return to Me”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts—“and I will return to you, says the Lord of Hosts. Do not be like your ancestors; the earlier prophets proclaimed to them: This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Turn from your evil ways and your evil deeds. But they did not listen or pay attention to Me”—this is the Lord’s declaration.  “Where are your ancestors now? And do the prophets live forever? But didn’t My words and My statutes that I commanded My servants the prophets overtake your ancestors? They repented and said: As the Lord of Hosts purposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so He has dealt with us."
As we begin our study today, let's look at verse 1, we encounter the first message of the Prophet Zechariah dated 520 B.C. or about eighteen years after the Babylonian exiles have returned to Palestine. In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the Word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo saying, the chronological sign post is the second year of Darius the Great dating this prophecy in 520 B.C. Before the exile to Babylon the prophets reckoned time by Judah’s own kings. Now a heathen monarch is used to establish a date. Zechariah, which means "God Remembers", was a priest as well as a prophet.

The eighth month was about a month after Haggai’s second prophecy in which Haggai had encouraged the people who were in danger of being disheartened because they did not have the resources to construct as great a temple as the past one. Zechariah will now give another view of the past which will prove it not so glorious after all.

Here also is revealed the foundation of Zechariah’s ministry. The Word of the Lord came to him. His authority was established by a divine call, a divine commission to be God’s mouthpiece. His instructions which he delivered to the remnant were received straight from God. The Word of the Lord was in him for he delivered his message in demonstration of the Spirit’s moving. An evidence of all God’s anointed prophets.

Then, verse 2, reminds the people that the reason, they are in this mess, is because of their past disobedience of their forefathers. The Lord was very angry with your fathers. Very angry.

The language here, is very strong, in the Hebrew, literally angry with anger, meaning vehement displeasure which was nearly abhorrence. This fact could not be denied. All they had to do was look with their eyes at the desolation of the land, which had lost, the latter rains and had been leveled by invading armies and recall their seventy years in captivity. 

"But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts. They have turned aside and have gone away.They have not said to themselves, ‘Let’s fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain, both early and late, in its season, who guarantees to us the fixed weeks of the harvest.’Your guilty acts have diverted these things from you. Your sins have withheld My bounty from you, for wicked men live among My people. They watch like fowlers lying in wait. They set a trap; they catch men."
Jeremiah 5:23-26

Then, we read, "The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought: Judah mourns; her gates languish. Her people are on the ground in mourning; Jerusalem’s cry rises up. Their nobles send their servants for water. They go to the cisterns; they find no water; their containers return empty. They are ashamed and humiliated; they cover their heads. The ground is cracked since no rain has fallen on the land. The farmers are ashamed; they cover their heads."
Jeremiah 14:1-4

When they looked about Jerusalem, even 18 years after their return, it was still mostly in ruins. Houses, sewage system, water system, the palace, government buildings, the walls, towers, gates, and the temple were all torn asunder. The land in its devastated condition bore tearful testimony to the fact that "The Lord was thoroughly angered at your fathers."

The evil self-seeking of their fathers brought the judgment of God down upon themselves. For God’s wrath against evil is a permanent unalterable fact established before the foundations of the earth. God’s holy and righteous character must always deal with sin. Beloved, we must always remember that, God must deal with sin.
Exile in the Hebrew Bible

Yes, Zechariah was the prophet of restoration. His message changed a generation of people. So let us also hear and heed the first and most important Word of the Lord for restoration. For upon this message all the following words of the Lord of Hosts, the whole foundation for restoration is based!
The desire of God is to bless, but He doesn’t bless disobedience. The Lord’s desire was to bring them back from exile, to make them prosperous, numerous, circumcise of heart that they might love and serve Him with all their soul and strength.
Deuteronomy 30:1-10, teaches, "When all these things happen to you—the blessings and curses I have set before you—and you come to your senses while you are in all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and all your soul by doing everything I am giving you today, then He will restore your fortunes, have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. Even if your exiles are at the ends of the earth, He will gather you and bring you back from there. The Lord your God will bring you into the land your fathers possessed, and you will take possession of it. He will cause you to prosper and multiply you more than He did your fathers. The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love Him with all your heart and all your soul so that you will live. The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. Then you will again obey Him and follow all His commands I am giving you today. The Lord your God will make you prosper abundantly in all the work of your hands with children, the offspring of your livestock, and your land’s produce. Indeed, the Lord will again delight in your prosperity, as He delighted in that of your fathers, when you obey the Lord your God by keeping His commands and statutes that are written in this book of the law and return to Him with all your heart and all your soul."

We can learn from this text, in Deuteronomy 30, which clearly contains some of His gracious promises of the conversion of the Jews in the latter day, of their calling things to mind that have befallen them, of their repentance, and the circumcision of their hearts to love the Lord, of the return of them to their own land, and of the great increase of them, and of their enjoyment of plenty of good things, Verse 1, is an account of the Gospel, or word of faith, which at this time should be brought near to the Jews, and be received by them.

What would be the consequences of receiving or rejecting it, and so what it would be most proper for them to make choice.

All thanks and praise be to God, beloved, that there is a way of dealing with these things, a way in which God demonstrates, how He gives the sinner what they do not deserve! Mercy. Zephaniah wrote that there would be a day of hope, when the remnant of Israel would come back out of captivity under the YAHWEH’s protection, to fulfill His promise. Then, verse 3 proclaims God’s wonderful way of dealing with our shortcomings, failures, and iniquities. Therefore say to them, "Thus says the Lord of Hosts, ’Return to Me,’ declares the Lord of Hosts,  'that I may return to you,’ says the Lord of Hosts."

God proclaims that all this devastation was caused by the ‘failure of your fathers to do what I am now admonishing you to do.’ Thus the prophet in the name of the Lord of Hosts must solemnly invite them to return to God, informing the people that God desires to turn away His anger and offer comfort to the people if they would turn from their evil and return to Him.

They are to turn to the Lord, in faith and repentance, and therefore, make their peace with God. If they will do this the Lord will extend His mercy to them. They will find peace and be reconciled to Him. The Lord of Hosts, is a military term meaning the controller of the militaries. It is used three times in this verse alone. The demands of such a monarch should be heeded with trembling earnestness.

This repetition of the formidable name of Yahweh or YHWH, known as the Tetragrammaton, was meant to emphasize the Divine Authority and might, which is backing the call to repentance and the blessed result of hearing His call and obeying it. For He is the Lord of Hosts, under whose hand all the created forces can be marshaled for the execution of His will. Yet, He lovingly asks for their voluntary return into a covenant relationship, so He may have a people through whom He may continue His redemption history. He was, only waiting for them, to return so that He might be a gracious, strong, and mighty tower for His righteous ones.

The point being, they must return. And, in doing so, they must meet this requirement to be able to appropriate all the rich promises that are to be offered to them. But thanks and praise be to God, for His call to repentance, for no return on man’s part is possible unless God calls man to Himself.

The Rhone River, which begins its journey in the Switzerland Alps, some 5000 feet above sea level. It is one of the most important commercial waterways in France, it stretches more than 500 miles in length. This river, that glistens and sparkles throughout France, however, is much different than it began at its origin. As it first began its voyage, glacial clay is picked up from the Rhone Glacier in the Alps making the Rhone River very milky, murky and rather dirty in appearance. Then, just before it enters France, the Rhone River empties into Lake Geneva, where a wonderful transformation occurs, an amazing wonder of nature. We can, and furthermore, should use this illustration, a picturing to us, as a transformation of souls in the spiritual realm. Most of the clay sinks to the bottom of the lake, and therefore, the Rhone River emerges crystal clear, beautiful and blue! It is so clear, so blue, that Lord Byron, who was an English poet, was so inspired to describe it as the "blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone."

Beloved, our lives, are much like this river. Shortly, after we have begun our journey in life, we find ourselves corrupted and polluted by the sins of the flesh. If the Lord hadn’t intervened, in His gracious, and loving mercy, we would’ve been destined to live out our sojourn filthy and unclean. But thanks be to God, when we come to the Lord Jesus Christ, He washes us, cleanses us, throwing our "sins into the depths of the sea.", as written in Micah 7:18-19, which says, "Who is a God like You,
removing iniquity and passing over rebellion for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not hold on to His anger forever, because He delights in faithful love. He will again have compassion on us;
He will vanquish our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea."

Jesus on the Cross - 10 Powerful Facts About the Crucifixion

The blood of the Lamb, however, is much more effective in its workings, than that of Lake Geneva is with the Rhone River! Our sins are forever, completely blotted out, forgiven, forgotten; and therefore, no sign of them reemerging again! What a gracious, merciful gift from above, this blessing, which is I might add, undeserved, from the heart of our Father! This great message from the prophet Zechariah, is that we need to turn back to God and when we do God will return to us, forgive us our sins, but far greater than that; it is as if, we had never committed sin against Him in the first place. However, it is up to us, to not only acknowledge this gift, but to accept it, on His terms, not our own!

Then, in verse 4, it teaches us that repentance is the turning away from, knowingly doing something that is wrong before God. "Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed saying, "Thus says the Lord of Hosts, ’return now from your evil ways and your evil deeds, but they did not listen or give heed to Me,’ declares the Lord."

This gracious invitation and assurance of acceptance, however, is followed by a stern warning concerning the grave danger of following in their fathers disobedient footsteps and incurring the displeasure of God, therefore, experiencing like punishment. Their fathers history had a solemn yet, powerful lesson to teach. Each person had opportunity to take advantage of the lesson that stared them in the face, every time one looked around, seeing the ruined state of Israel. Echoing the Lord's Words, "Do not be like your fathers." They refused to listen and act on the Lord of Hosts’ demand for return to heart motivated worship and morality.

God had sent His prophets to them to proclaim righteousness and their constant cry was to "Repent." The prophets revealed Israel as a man wandering ever farther from God. They cried, repent and return for you are straying from the source of true life and blessedness into death. Yet, the result of all the ministry of the former prophets to the old covenant people is summed up by God here saying, "‘But they did not listen or give heed to Me’ declares the Lord"

Beloved, I believe, God is making this same call to all of us here today!

Now that they have returned from captivity, from exile, the call is still the same, "Return to Me and I will return to you." It is with this same cry that the Old Testament prophecy stops in Malachi 3:7. Which, you probably remember, Malachi told the builders of the wall around Jerusalem "Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from My statutes; you have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Hosts.
But you ask: “How can we return?"

Then, after four centuries of prophetic silence, we hear the voice of the prophet John the Baptist's cry, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand" as recorded in the book of Matthew chapter 3, verses 2, 8 and 11. Then with the cry of repentance, clearing the way for Christ’s coming, we then hear the Messiah Himself, the One who came to inaugurate the kingdom of heaven on earth cry, Jesus Christ, "Repent." Matthew 4:17 says, "From then on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!"

However, they did not heed and believe then, nor does the world today, however, our message must not change,or conform to the worldly standards, for this is part of our commission by Christ and not one to be taken lightly or forsaken! "Repent, for the kingdom of God is  near!" And while, it is true, this has been preached for over two thousand years, since the days of John the Baptist, since Christ's earthly ministry, we are, however, closer than we have ever been. If you want to know where we stand in God's prophetic timeline, just keep your eyes upon Israel.

And so preach the apostles, be it Peter in Acts 2:38, Paul in Acts 17:30, or James in James 4:8. So shall we preach! For saving faith and the continuing growth of faith are always inextricably bound up with the conviction of sin and repentance. And any man today, that does not preach repentance is not following after the message of the prophets, the apostles, Jesus Christ, Himself and are not in line with Christ’s Commission to service.

However it is clear, that Zechariah’s word from God was, "Return now from your evil deeds." Man’s state is that of being turned away from God and every day he refuses to return, so he finds himself further away from God. Man must cease ignoring God’s Word and turn so that every step in life will carry him nearer to God, not further away. Though every repentance, every return on the part of God’s people to the Lord is imperfect at best, it is an experience which requires spiritual deepening and must be repeated time and time again, yet more sincerely and thoroughly. A godly life can only coexist, in perfecting repentance, in always following Christ, in a closer walk.

Therefore, let us, God's people realize, His supreme demand for all people, whether in the land of captivity or in the promised land, whether lost or saved, for all time and all people is presented here. Repentance is always the prerequisite for restoration and for revival. These backslidden people were told in verse 5; "Where are your ancestors now? And do the prophets live forever?"

Where are those today that chose not heed the gracious and authoritative message of repentance? What was the consequence of their disbelief? Their outright disobedience of God’s Word? What good did they gain, what success did they ultimately experience in resisting God? Where are they now? Did they not spend their days grovelling in misery, pining away in captivity. How then, can they alter their condition, once in the grave?

Beloved, four times, in this short text, is the designation your fathers is used. People like to look with pride to their ancestors, but because of their disobedience and apostasy, God absolutely forbade it. Spiritual opportunity neglected is spiritual opportunity lost forever: the calamity of calamities.

"Where are the prophets?" If the people go their own way, what then becomes of the righteous prophets. They too shared in some of the sorrows of the nation! Despite being God’s mouthpiece they were now gone also. The Word of God was in earthen vessels. We today have the treasure of God’s Holy Spirit however, we have Him within perishing earthen vessels.

Therefore, beloved, I strongly encourage you, not to follow any particular messenger of God but instead, follow the eternal and unfailing Word of God! There are so many today, follow a simple messenger and his message, especially the one who will tickle their ears, proclaiming to you whatever  you wish to hear, that which makes you feel good.

But we are to follow the eternal Word of God. Not a messenger. For even all godly men will whither in like manner as the people of the land but the Word of the Lord will stand forever!

In Closing....

Today, I set forth a call for true repentance! Prophets who faithfully minister the Word of God are called His servants. Their words and statutes are the utterances of God which He has ordained and unalterably fixed. The unchangeable!

What Does True Repentance Look Like? | GOD TV
Beloved, while Scripture teaches that forgiveness for backsliding and sin, it is however, based upon repentance, which is critical to man’s relationship with God. He who does not repent to follow God’s eternal word, be he saved or lost, will walk further and further from the will of God for his life till God’s word consumes him. God clearly requires, and further demands that man repent and change his outward deeds by changing the inward direction of his life, that man believe and follow the eternal Word and not the fleeting and failing word of man.

Those we've read about in today's text, cannot deny that the immutable Word of God overtook their fathers for their homeland furnished inescapable evidence of the truth of this statement. The fathers thought they could escape repentance but God sent forth His Word and it pursued them, and caught them. This fact is a prominent feature of the Divine Word. The fulfillment of God’s Word is inescapable. This certainty the prophet wanted burned into their consciousness.

Might I draw your attention, to the second half of verse 6, what happened to the people who heeded the Word of the Lord that Zechariah was preaching. Then they repented and said, "As the Lord of Hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and deeds, so He has dealt with us. "Then they repented, meaning the remnant in Zechariah’s day repented and believed God’s Word.

They acknowledged that God has fixed a plan to deal with each according to their deeds. They accepted that their ways, the ways in which they walked, were evil, their actions were wrong. They accepted that they not only needed to change their actions but to change their actions by changing the direction of their life. Fellowship with God, in any age, is dependent on that truth!

Before we each go our own way today, I'd like to encourage each of you to think about today's message, "Repent! For the kingdom of God is near!"

Beloved, God is ready and willing to forgive any that would call upon Him.
It’s not too late to return to God and be healed and to be forgiven!

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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Wait! What?

You're still here?

Then you probably haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, there’s a heavy burden on my heart, to encourage you to do it, today, before it’s too late.

You're not sure how? It's not difficult, just pray this prayer and watch Jesus Christ transform your life from the inside out.

Dear Lord Jesus,

I confess that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I need a Savior. I  believe in my heart, that You died for my sins and rose from the dead. Today, I turn away from my sins and invite You into my heart and life. I trust you and want to follow You as my Lord and Savior. 

In Your name I pray,

That's it.. Congratulations!
You've just made the single most important decision of your life!
In fact, its so important, even the angels in heaven are rejoicing!
And so are all of us here!
You will never go through any struggle alone from this day forward. You have a Savior and church family who loves you and cares for you, and who will be praying for you every step of the way!

I hope that you will also be praying for all of us too..

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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