The book of Zechariah was written during the reign of King Darius, when the Israelites were rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, as well as the temple, that had been destroyed by the Babylonians. Zechariah was a prophet who God used to encourage, comfort, instruct and warn His people.
Verse 3 of chapter 1: “Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you…”
What is interesting about this verse is the truth that God had removed Himself to some degree from the people because they had removed themselves from Him. God didn’t forsake them, but He had “pulled back” His Presence from them. What this means I am not exactly sure, but I can surmise that some part of God’s Spirit was not present in their lives so that prayers were not answered as expected, or healing did not occur, etc.
We experience this same situation today, for God is the same today as He was back then. We say “where are the miracles, healings, revivals, and mighty moving of God’s Spirit?” We then think that the problem is that we aren’t using the right formulas to make them happen, or the wrong methodology for revivals, or not enough determination in our faith. Like the world, we think if we could just figure out the right pieces needed to attract people to the Gospel, or if we could just get the people of God better organized to make things happen, or if we could just get a group of believers to be open to miracles and bold enough to be used by God to pray for the sick to be healed, then these things would begin to happen in our midst.
But God says, “Return to me, and I will return to you.”
Perhaps the question now is what exactly does it means to “Return to Him.” We may be thinking (presuming) that we have already returned to Him or that we have never left Him. The next verse says “Be not like your fathers, to whom the former prophets cried out, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, Return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds’, but they did not hear or heed me…” To be more clear, in chapter 7: 7&8, “….were not these the words which the Lord proclaimed by the former prophets? ….Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy each to his brother, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to hearken….”
Our focus should be on the things pertaining to the Spirit and pertaining to our hearts. These are the things that will impact our behaviors and result in holiness. We should not focus on the things pertaining to this carnal world system, like our methods, our organizational skills, or our gadgets used to attract people to our meetings. Have we spent the time to examine our hearts and to keep them clean and pure before the Lord?
I believe that if we have our hearts in the right place before Him, and we are walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh, we will be in a position for the hand of God to move in a mighty way in our midst. It will be a matter of course, and we will not have to seek after it or work hard to make it happen.
Remember also that God is a sovereign God who moves and acts according to His will and not ours. He knows what is best and when to manifest His power. It’s not like tapping into some neutral force of power that is available to us to meet our needs. God is a person, our loving Father who knows what is best for us.
It pleases Him to bring His blessings to His people. Chapter 8: “I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. This says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain.” It goes on to say that this is marvelous in God’s eyes. Jerusalem represents God’s presence in the midst of His people. His presence brings power, peace, joy and blessing.
Ultimately, we must recognize that the power is His. It’s His work, His purpose, His will, His plan, completely His doing. We are just vessels that He uses to accomplish His will. Consider the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, who was leading the effort to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem at the time: (Chap 4 vs. 6-8) “…Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. What are you O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain, and he will bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”
Wait for the Lord. Keep your heart humble and submitted to Him. Store up your treasures in heaven. In due time, God will raise you up and use you for His good pleasure to accomplish His will.