I don’t know about you, but I am deeply interested in second chances. I say this for myself, because I have made stupid and wrong decisions in my own life; and I find myself wanting some way to make up for those decisions or even to undo them entirely. But I also say this for people I love dearly, who have also made stupid and harmful decisions. “I hope – I pray – that there is some way that God can be good, holy, just, moral, perfect, and righteous and still give us the opportunity to try over, to start again, to have a new beginning and a second chance,” declares Mark Dever.
Some of our most beloved stories are about people being given second chances – from the conversion of Christian in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress to the reformation of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. One is about a man who has played out his hand in the City of Destruction. The other is about a rich, miserly recluse. But even people like them need another chance.
What about you?
Are there situations at work or home, at school or church, that you have simply blown? Have you failed in your friendships or family? Has a precious opportunity passed you by? Have you spoken destructive words that appear to be irrevocable, forever closing off this possibility or that hope?
Let me take it one step further: I wonder if that is how you feel in your relationship with God. I wonder if you attend church on Sundays and join in by singing praise songs and hymns, but you simultaneously feel that you have blown it with the One you are singing about. You know that you have so abused, ignored, and mistreated him that you have no claim left on his attention, let alone on his affection. On Sunday mornings, we often try not to look as if we are as desperate as we feel. But are you discouraged with where your relationship with God is – or isn’t?
If so, then you are right to turn to the Scriptures; and you have come to the right book in the Bible in our study through the Minor Prophets – the book of Zechariah. Zechariah is the longest Minor Prophet. And he is also the most obscure minor prophet. Old Testament professor Douglas Stuart has said that most people find it ‘an especially difficult read, even for a prophetic book.’
Zechariah began prophesying at the same time as Haggai – in 520 B.C. Like Haggai, he exhorted the Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon to Jerusalem to get on with rebuilding the temple of the Lord. Through a series of eight visions, two sermons, and two oracles, God used Zechariah to tell God’s people that they would have a second chance!
Come and join us this Sunday morning as Chad preaches an overview of the book of Zechariah. One of the great questions of life is ‘How do we start again?’ It is a question that the prophet Zechariah answers in the book that bears his name. See you Sunday.
Missed Sunday? Read the Summary.