28
Apr
16

Escaping God’s Wrath

Zechariah 1:1-6 (NIV)

In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo:

2 “The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. 4 Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. 5 Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?

“Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’”

 

Zechariah was a prophet and priest who was born in Babylon when the Jews from Judah were in captivity there. When the Persians conquered the Babylonians in 539 BC, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. About 50,000 exiles returned to Jerusalem, just as God had promised. Zechariah called God’s people to remain faithful to the Lord Almighty as they began to rebuild the temple.

In verse 2, the phrase, “The Lord was very angry…” is literally translated, “The Lord was angry with anger.” God’s people, with whom He had entered into a loving relationship, rebelled against Him and did evil in His sight. God punished His people because of their rebellion. God’s anger does not last forever. He promised that a remnant would return to Jerusalem. That is exactly what happened.

Zechariah reminded the people that God’s heart is for repentance and forgiveness, not wrath and punishment. We see this in the New Testament in the life and death of Jesus Christ. God sent His Son to call people to repentance and to take the punishment for our rebellion and sin. When Jesus went to the cross, He was the object of God’s wrath. God poured out all of His wrath on Christ on the cross.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NIV) says:

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV):

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

God has saved us by His grace through faith in His Son, Jesus. His wrath is reserved for those who reject Christ. Let us live to tell of Jesus and His love so that others may escape the coming wrath of God.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank You for Your grace that saves us from wrath. Thank You for rescuing me through Your Son, Jesus. May I have an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with someone today that they might hear, believe and repent and turn to You for forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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