Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. Now then, return the man's wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.” Gen20: 6,7. When God himself calls Abraham a prophet you cannot argue with it.
You have probably noticed several posts from the prophets in the past three years, all of which came from the class. I imagine there will be many more. When you reach my age and you have been "going to church" your whole life, you doubt there is all that much more to learn. Then you study the prophets and the amount you didn't know is staggering—and humbling. The thing is, I have studied a few of these men before, but I still learned more in the past three years than I have in the past twenty.
It helps to have a knowledgeable husband, but even if you do not, grab those Bibles and get with it now. It will take me years more to finish what I have only scratched the surface of. In fact, we might start the whole thing over from the top, but really, as we approach the last chapter of Malachi, we need a break. The prophets can be a little depressing, especially when you see that we have the same tendencies as the faithless people they preached to.
Zechariah, however, gave us a few moments of comfort. While it, too, has its share of gloomy predictions, the night visions were particularly encouraging. Those visions came to the returning exiles who found life harder than they had expected. The Persian king may have been "on their side," but that did not clear away the rubble; it did not make the crops grow; it did not make the people they had to run out of Jerusalem like them any better. Nearly a hundred years later, they still suffered, building the city walls with half the men working and the other half standing guard. Later on, Nehemiah thwarted several attempts on his life. But in Haggai and Zechariah's time, when the Temple was finally rebuilt twenty years after the first group returned, it was a pale shadow of that first gold-covered masterpiece of architecture. So God sent Zechariah 8 visions, evidently all on the same night, visions of comfort and encouragement.
We, too, live in a pagan world that stands against everything we believe. Some of us are mocked at work, at school, in our neighborhoods because we do not follow the crowd in our lifestyle, dress, and speech. When we look at some of our tiny, struggling congregations, we wonder how this can really be the promised, glorious kingdom. We try to reach the lost and though some come to see, it seems most turn around and leave because it does not match their vision either. And so we, too, wonder sometimes if God is even aware of us, if He understands our disappointments and frustrations.
We need the same encouragement those people did so long ago—every generation needs it--so here goes a brand new series, "Zechariah's Night Visions." Due to my continuing history series, I cannot promise you will see them all on the same day, such as every Monday, so you will have to be a little more diligent about checking every week. But I do promise that while these may sometimes be challenging, the encouragement they give will more than make up for that. And you will more than likely learn a few new things. Not too many churches pick up the book of Zechariah and study it.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Rom 15:4)