"The LORD was very angry with your fathers.Zechariah 1:2(NASB)
The Lord chose Israel to be the one nation through whom He would reach a lost and dying world. They were to be a holy nation, separated unto God, who would act as a light to the Gentiles. They were to rescue lost people out of paganism and bring them into the family of God and His holy Temple at Jerusalem, but throughout their long history, they did not obey the Lord.
The Israelites were God's chosen people and to them belonged the adoption as sons, the glory of God, and the different covenants. They were entrusted with writing the Scriptures and were given the Jewish Law, the Aaronic priesthood, the precious promises of God, and the privilege of being the nation through whom the Messiah would be born. They were afforded many astonishing advantages, but they broke their covenant and disobeyed the Word of God.
The prophecies of Zechariah, give a panoramic view of Israel's chequered history. They contain many Messianic references and prophecies relating to the promised Messiah. Not only do we discover many fulfilled prophecies about Christ's First Coming, but there are many more prophetic writings about His Second Coming. He was despised and rejected at His First Coming, and led as a lamb to the slaughter by those He came to save – and the Lord was very angry with generations of His chosen nation.
But God is faithful to His people, and His mercies are new every morning. His promises will never fail, for His Word cannot be broken, and Zechariah prophesied of the glorious salvation of a remnant of Israel and the future peace and prosperity they will enjoy in the City of God, when Jesus is King of Israel and Governor over the whole earth. Nevertheless, because of their sin the Lord was angry with those that disobeyed Him.
Just as Israel were promised wonderful blessings from the Lord if they obeyed His voice, they were also warned of the terrible curses that would overtake them if they did not fulfil their promise: "All that the Lord has said, we will do," was Israel's unanimous proclamation, BUT they broke it over and again through their chequered and apostate history, and the Lord was angry with their fathers.
It is right at the start of his book with its fascinating symbolism and astonishing revelations, that Zechariah thunders out his cautionary message to God's errant nation. He called on them to repent of their ongoing sins, to turn from their wicked ways, and to be obedient to Word of the Lord their God.
"The LORD was very angry with your fathers," is the important message with which Zechariah opens His prophetic book: "God has been very displeased with your fathers," he cries. "Return to Me," declares the LORD of hosts, "repent of your sin and turn from your evil ways that I may return to you." This was the gracious warning that this man of God delivered Israel, but they continued to disobey.
The people of Zechariah's day and every generation onward are being warned not to repeat the terrible mistake made by their fore-fathers, who ignored similar warnings from earlier prophets. BUT: "they did not listen or give heed to the Lord."
God knew that His people would not turn from their apostasy, and so Zechariah begins to pen a prophetic panorama of the future events that would take place at Christ's First and Second Advents – but throughout their history they have received repeated warnings that God was angry with their forefathers and they are not to follow in their footsteps.
Heavenly Father, what a warning to all Your children to listen to Your voice, obey Your Word, eschew evil, and walk in the way of truth. Thank You for the many lessons I can learn from the foolish mistakes that Israel made, when they refused to heed Your Word, obey Your instructions, and fell into pagan ways and spiritual apostasy. But even though they broke the covenant they made at Sinai, You remained faithful to all the conditional and unconditional promises You gave them. Thank You for the assurance that You will also keep Your promises to the Church, for You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. May I pay heed to Your voice, obey Your Word, walk by faith, and be guided by the indwelling Holy Spirit of truth, for Your greater praise and glory. In Jesus' name, AMEN.