‘Fulfil your vows’ (Nahum 1:15).
Lord, You’re calling us to be faithful to You. We are to be faithful in worship. We are to be faithful in reading Your Word. We are to be faithful in prayer. We are to be faithful in giving. We are to be faithful in witness. Our faith is to be real. Our faith is to make a difference. It’s to change the way we live. It’s not to be a case of ‘faith without works’. Show us , Lord, that this kind of ‘faith’ is ‘dead’ (James 2:17). Our whole life is to be a life of faith. It is to be a life of ‘love.’ You’re calling us to live ‘for Your glory’ (Romans 14:23; 1 Corinthians 16:14; 10:31). ‘Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise… Not for the lip of praise alone, nor even the praising heart we ask, but for a life made up of praise in every part’ (Church Hymnary, 457).
To those who refuse to live in obedience to You, Lord, You speak Your Word of judgment: ‘I am against you’ (Nahum 2:13; Nahum 3:5).
To those who refuse to listen to Your Word of salvation – ‘The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him’, You speak a very different Word. It will be Your Word of judgment. Your Word will come like ‘an overwhelming flood’: ‘He will pursue His foes into darkness’ (Nahum 1:7-8). We thank You, Lord, that none of us needs to face this ‘overwhelming flood’ and hear the words, ‘I am against you.’ Each of us can come to Christ and hear His Word of ‘overwhelming victory’: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?… Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:31,37-39). Thank You, Lord.
‘How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen?’ (Habakkuk 1:2).
Lord, there are times when it seems that You are not listening to us. What are we to do when we feel like this? Are we to give up on You? Are we to stop praying? No! Teach us to wait patiently for Your answer – ‘I will look to see what He will say to me.’ May we never forget Your promise: ‘The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord’ (Habakkuk 2:1; Lamentations 3:25-26). ‘The vision awaits its time… If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay’. Teach us, Lord, to ‘live by faith’, awaiting the Day when ‘the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea’ (Habakkuk 2:3-4,14).
Teach us, Lord, to ‘be silent’ before You. Help us to ‘stand in awe’ of You.
In Your holy presence, we become deeply conscious of our sin which separates us from You: ‘Your eyes are too pure to look on evil.’ Confessing our sin to You, Lord, we pray that ‘in wrath’ You will ‘remember mercy.’ We pray that You will ‘renew’ us with Your blessing. You answer our prayer. You send Your ‘glory’ into our lives. You fill our hearts with Your ‘praise’: ‘I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Lord God is my Strength. He makes my feet like the feet of the deer. He enables me to go on the heights.’ We thank You, Lord, for Your precious promise: ‘Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles…’ (Habakkuk 2:20; Habakkuk 3:2; Habakkuk 1:13; Habakkuk 3:18-19; Isaiah 40:31).
‘The great Day of the Lord is near – near and coming quickly… That Day will be a Day of wrath… I will bring distress upon the people… because they have sinned against the Lord’ (Zephaniah 1:14-17).
This, Lord, is Your Word of warning. You’re calling us back to Yourself: ‘Seek the Lord – before the fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the Day of the Lord’s wrath comes upon you.’ Help us, Lord, to seek You in ‘righteousness’ and ‘humility.’ This is the way of being ‘sheltered on the Day of Your anger’ (Zephaniah 2:2-3). You’re calling us to ‘worship You in Spirit and in truth’: ‘Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him. This is the true worship that you should offer’ (John 4:24; Romans 12:1).
We read, Lord, a story of sin – ‘Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! She has not obeyed His voice. She has not accepted correction. She has not trusted in the Lord. She has not drawn near to her God’ – and a story of salvation – ‘Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment. He has turned back your enemy… The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will renew you in His love. He will rejoice over you with singing’ (Zephaniah 3:1-2,14-17). The story of our sin is full of sadness. The story of Your salvation fills us with gladness – ‘Rejoice and be glad! The Redeemer has come’ (Mission Praise, 573).
We read, Lord, the questions that You put to Your people: ‘Why is everyone saying it is not the right time for rebuilding My Temple?’; ‘Is it then the right time for you to live in luxurious homes, when the Temple lies in ruins?’ (Haggai 1:2-4).
Your people had forgotten about You. They were pleasing themselves – but they were not pleasing You! Lord, You’re challenging us to think about our way of living – ‘Consider your way of life’ (Haggai 1:5,7). Teach us, Lord, to ‘obey Your voice.’ Help us to change our way of thinking – ‘the people feared the Lord’ – and living – ‘They came and began work on the House of the Lord Almighty, their God.’ Help us to obey Your voice and trust in Your promise – ‘I am with you’(Haggai 1:12-14).
Lord, You’re speaking Your Word to us: ‘“Be strong, all you people of the land”, declares the Lord, “and work. For I am with you”, declares the Lord Almighty’ (Haggai 2:4).
You’re calling us to work for You. When, Lord, we commit ourselves to serving You, You give to us the promise of Your blessing: ‘From this day on I will bless you’ (Haggai 2:19). To Your faithful servants, You promise great blessing: ‘I will fill this House with glory’ (Haggai 2:7). You’re calling us to give ourselves completely to You: ‘Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that, in the Lord, your labour is not in vain’ (1 Corinthians 15:58). When we hear Your questions, ‘Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will serve the King?’, may we say, ‘We are on the Lord’s side, Saviour, we are Thine… Always on the Lord’s side, Saviour, always Thine’ (Church Hymnary, 479).
We thank You, Lord, that You promise to bless Your faithful people: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there My House will be rebuilt’ (Zechariah 1:16).
You look upon Your House, and You see Your glory – ‘I will be the glory within it’ (Zechariah 2:5). You see the glory of Your presence – ‘I will live among you’ (Zechariah 2:10). We read about the Temple at Jerusalem. We read about its glory. Your Word speaks about another ‘temple’ and another ‘glory.’ Through ‘faith’ in ‘Christ’, we have become ‘a holy temple in the Lord’ – ‘a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit’ (Ephesians 2:21-22; Ephesians 3:16-17). To every believer, God says, ‘Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you… Glorify God in your body’ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Help us, Lord, to bring glory to You.
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit”, says the Lord Almighty’ (Zechariah 4:6).
Teach us, Lord, that there is only one Power by which Your work can be done. It is the power of the Holy Spirit. Help us not to try to do Your work in our own strength. May we exchange our weakness for Your strength. Teach us, Father, to ‘wait for Your promise’ – ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.’ We thank You, Lord that great things happen when Your people are ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ – ‘About three thousand were added to their number that day… The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved’! Let us pray that God will ‘pour out’ His Spirit upon us (Acts 1:4,8; Acts 2:4,17-18,41,47).
‘Here is the Man whose Name is the Branch… It is He who will build the Temple of the Lord…’ (Zechariah 6:12-13).
We thank You, Lord, for these great words of prophecy. They point us to our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16:18). How does Christ build His Church? He sends His blessing when His people are obedient to Him: ‘Those who are far away will come and help to build the Temple of the Lord… This will happen if you diligently obey the Lord your God’ (Zechariah 6:15). We thank You, Lord, that You’re ‘building a people of power.’ You’re calling us to ‘move through this land by Your Spirit and glorify Your precious Name’. Teach us to pray, ‘Here I am, wholly available – as for me, I will serve the Lord’ (Mission Praise, 151,229).
Lord, when people stop listening to Your Word, their life becomes ‘a desolate wasteland’ (Zechariah 7:11-14).
What are we to do when we see this happening? – ‘Do not be afraid… Be strong.’ Help us, Lord, to keep on believing Your promise: ‘I will save you, and you will be a blessing.’ Help us to keep on praying that our faithful witness will bring others to You: ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you’ (Zechariah 8:13,23). Teach us to pray that ‘the Spirit will be poured upon us from on high and the desert will become a fertile field.’ ‘Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father’ (Isaiah 32:15; Matthew 5:15-16). Lord, shine Your light on us, and shine Your light through us.
‘…See your King comes to you… gentle and riding on a donkey…’ (Zechariah 9:9).
We thank You, Lord, for these wonderful words of prophecy. They point us to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Jesus is our King. He comes to us. How are we to welcome our King? We are to welcome Him with joyful praise – ‘Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord’ (Matthew 21:1-9; John 12:12-16). We thank You, our Father, that Jesus our King has come to us from You: ‘When the time had fully come, God sent His Son…’. We thank You that Jesus our King has come to us to be our Saviour: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ (Galatians 4:4; 1 Timothy 1:15). We thank You that He will come again – ‘with power and great glory.’ ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 22:20).
‘They will look on Him whom they have pierced…’ (Zechariah 12:10).
We thank You, Lord, for these great words of prophecy. They point us to Christ’s crucifixion. In Psalm 22:1, we read Christ’s prayer from the Cross: ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?’ (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). In the same Psalm, we read these words: ‘They have pierced My hands and My feet’ (Psalm 22:16). In Isaiah 53:5, we learn that Christ ‘was pierced for our sins.’ In Revelation 1:7, the words of Zechariah 12:10 form part of a prophecy concerning Christ’s Return: ‘Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him …’. In His heavenly glory, Christ will always be ‘the Lamb’ who was ‘slain’ (Revelation 5:6,9). Thank You, Lord, for our great Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord, we ‘call on Your Name’. You ‘answer’ our prayer – ‘I will say, “They are My people”, and they will say, “The Lord is our God’ (Zechariah 13:9).
We confess our faith in ‘You, Lord.’ You are the ‘Lord of lords.’ You are the ‘King of kings’. Your Name is ‘the only Name’ of our salvation. Your Name is ‘the Name that is above every name’ (Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 19:16; Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:9-11). We ‘worship the King, the Lord Almighty.’ We sing ‘Holy to the Lord’: ‘Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come! Worthy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come! Glory to the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come!’ (Zechariah 14:16,20; Mission Praise, 239).
Lord, You look upon us in our sin. What do You see? You see ‘the Wicked Land. You see ‘a people always under the wrath of the Lord’ (Malachi 1:4).
You look at what Christ has done for us – ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’; ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’; ‘Christ died for our sins’ (1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3). You look upon us in Christ – and everything is so very different: ‘God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Corinthians 5:21). We thank You, Lord, that, at the Cross of Christ, we hear Your Word of love – ‘I have loved you’; ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ (Malachi 1:2; Jeremiah 31:3).
Lord, You’re calling us to be Your faithful people. You say to us, ‘Return to Me.’ You promise to bless those who return to You: ‘I will return to you.’
You call us to honour You with our ‘tithes and offerings: ‘Bring the whole tithe (tenth) into the storehouse…’ When we honour You, Lord, You have promised that You will honour us: ‘Those who honour Me, I will honour.’ When we honour You with our obedience, You promise that You will honour us with Your blessing. You promise to ‘open the windows of heaven and pour down for us an overflowing blessing’. Satan – ‘the devourer’ – will be defeated. We will ‘serve God’. He will take ‘delight’ in us. We will be Your ‘treasured possession’ (Malachi 3:8-12,17-19; 1 Samuel 2:30).
Keep on praying for our troubled world – and don’t forget to thank God for answers to prayer.
God bless you all.