“The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor, and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another” (7:9,10). Reminds me of James’ epistle (and many other passages, also). The Lord expects his people to live lives of righteousness and compassion. It’s always been so.
Zechariah was concerned about the building of the temple but he was concerned about much more than that. A temple built of stones and wood would be meaningless without the lives being changed of those who entered. The people fasted but hypocritically. And in so many other things did they disobey though God had called out to them repeatedly: “I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear” (7:13).
Yet, God will be gracious: “Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and with their children they shall live and return” (10:9). And, one day, the scene will be very different from that which Zechariah confronted. The hope for the people of Zechariah’s day is our hope, that is, that God will be gracious.
The kingdom of God is justice and joy;
For Jesus restores what sin would destroy.
God’s power and glory in Jesus we know;
And here and hereafter the kingdom shall grow.
The kingdom of God is mercy and grace;
The captives are freed, the sinners find place,
The outcast are welcomed God’s banquet to share;
And hope is awakened in place of despair. --Bryn Rees (1973)