Zechariah 8

Just as Americans remember September 11, 2001, so Jewish people of Zechariah’s day remembered the tenth day of the tenth month when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. They remembered the ninth day of the fourth month, the day the Babylonians breeched Jerusalem’s wall. They remembered the seventeenth day of the fifth month when the Babylonian invaders destroyed Solomon’s temple. They remembered the assasination of King Gedeliah in the seventh month.
Like September 11, these were sad days and the exiles had made them a time of mourning and fasting. But having returned to Jerusalem from captivity, should they continue to remember them? This is the question the people of Bethel ask their brethren in Jerusalem.
“Of course,” God replies. But they should be remembered with joy.
Joy???
Absolutely. These days marked a turning point in Israel’s history, moving from a time of sin to a time of righteousness. At least, they should. The problem was, the days were not all that great.
God acknowledges this fact in 8:9-11. But God promises a wonderful time to come. Israel will become famous and everyone will want to go to Jerusalem. Prosperity will abound and God’s presence will be obvious.
When did this happen?
It didn’t.
Why?
Because Israel never took seriously God’s covenant requirements: to speak the truth, to render justice in their courts, and seek to do what is right (8:14-17).
God’s promises are not without qualification. One cannot expect the blessings of God when all the while living in rebellion to His will. God doesn’t work that way.