Zechariah 8:9–17 (NKJV)
9 “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.
10 For before these days
There were no wages for man nor any hire for beast;
There was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came in;
For I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor.
11 But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the Lord of hosts.
12 ‘For the seed shall be prosperous,
The vine shall give its fruit,
The ground shall give her increase,
And the heavens shall give their dew—
I will cause the remnant of this people
To possess all these.
13 And it shall come to pass
That just as you were a curse among the nations,
O house of Judah and house of Israel,
So I will save you, and you shall be a blessing.
Do not fear,
The promises of this passage come in the form of a sermon. It is divided into two sections, each of which begins with an admonition to “strengthen your hands,” and ends with an admonition to “fear not.” The first section highlights the promise (sixth promise) that God will not treat the remnant as in the former days. Instead, God will rather bring blessings through the land, as the seed will prosper and the dew will fall. Also, Judah and Israel will be a blessing rather than a reproach on the land.
Let your hands be strong.’
14 “For thus says the Lord of hosts:
‘Just as I determined to punish you
When your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’
Says the Lord of hosts,
‘And I would not relent,
15 So again in these days
I am determined to do good
To Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.
Do not fear.
The seventh promise is simple: “I am determined to do good….” The Lord will do good to the same degree to which He punished them. This simple decree is covenantal in its nature. If the people of God worship and obey, they will enjoy the good blessings of God.
16 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.”
The Lord sums up this sermon with instructions to His people as to the expected behavior of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. Speak truth, execute truth, judgment, and peace, remove evil from your mind, and don’t say something and not do it. Be people of integrity. Live what you speak. Be holy. Obey God. The blessings of God are conditional. The grace of God is unconditional. Note the distinction. God will save you or forgive you, no matter what you have done. You sin, however, will cost you dearly. Live as God instructs, and restoration, healing, and blessings will be yours!