Week 11: 06/03/2023. Mon
Like many of us today who starts off well in many things in life, but ended up with a jaded present. The returnees, after 20 years from returning from the Babylonian Exile (538 B.C.) during the time of Cyrus, still had discouragement and disillusion stuck to their minds and hearts.
You can't blame them for arriving there: (1) their temple building was bogged down by powerful opposition, (2) costs of living were high due to higher taxes imposed by the Persian king for military purposes, and (3) the earlier prophets' promises dissipated before their eyes.
Zechariah, a contemporary of Haggai, administered the antidote to this disillusion, by reminding his audience that all the present troubles did not escape the LORD's eyes, even though their own eyes could not see a brighter future.
First things first, said Zechariah. Step one was to return to the LORD, rather than just trying your best to pursue life as best as we can using our own efforts.
Zechariah 1:3 Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. (ESV)
For the returnees, returning to the LORD was more than going back to the physical land and half-hearted attempts to rebuild the physical temple. Returning also included the distancing of themselves from "evil ways" and "evil deeds" and, instead, "pay attention to me, declares the LORD" (1:4).
For this slightly sunnier Monday, let's start off the week well by intentionally keeping in our mind the LORD's presence and preference to dwell among His people gloriously, be it at home, work or play.