June 16, 2019 – Zechariah 1 – 2

Lesson Date: June 16, 2019

Focal Scripture Passage: Zechariah 1:1-3, 12-21; 2:1-5, 10-13

AIM: To lead students to discover promises God made to Israel and discuss the trustworthiness of those promises, and to place their trust in promises God has made to us.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Zechariah 1 – 2 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Locate some play money, such as Monopoly money. Bring a bill of the play money and a real dollar bill to class. Write the following verse references on slips of paper: Matthew 11:28; John 14:2-3; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9; Philippians 4:6-7; Hebrews 13:5; 1 John 1:9. Enlist some volunteers who are comfortable reading aloud to look up the verses and be prepared to read them to the class near the end of the lesson.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Hold the play money and the real dollar bill up in front of the class. Ask: “What is the difference between these two pieces of currency?” (one is real and the other is not). Ask: “What makes the real dollar bill worth a dollar?” (it is backed by the promise of the federal government that its value is one dollar and it can be used for purchases and the payment of debts). Tell the class the paper the bill is made of is not worth a dollar; the only thing that makes a dollar bill worth a dollar is the promise of the federal government. The play money carries no such promise, so it is worthless.

Tell the class that a promise is only as good as the person making it. Ask: “Have you ever known someone whose word was worthless? Have you ever known anyone who could be depended upon to keep his promises?” Stress that promises made by a liar are meaningless, while promises made by a trustworthy person can be counted on.

Tell the students in today’s lesson we will discover numerous promises made by God to the Israelites. God always keeps His promises.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Introduction to Zechariah.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (promises of God and problems within the people).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Hag. 2:9).
    • Read Zechariah 1:1.
    • Introduce the book of Zechariah using the following outline:
      • Tell the class the date Zechariah gave was October or November of 520 BC.
      • Use the Timeline of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi to remind the class that Zechariah, like Haggai, prophesied in Jerusalem in 520 BC.
      • The two prophets prophesied at the same place and the same time.
      • God used the preaching of Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the Jewish remnant to finish rebuilding the Temple (Ezra 5:1-2; 6:14).
  2. God’s Call to Repent.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 1:2-3.
    • Ask: “According to verse 2, how did God feel about their ancestors?” (very displeased).
    • Ask: “What did He tell the people to do in verse 3?” (to return to Him).
    • Tell the students this was a call to repent. God still calls us to do the same (Acts 3:19; 17:30; Rev. 2:5).
    • Ask: “What did God promise if they returned to Him?” (to turn to them).
    • Tell the class in verses 4-6 God warned the Jews not to be foolish like their ancestors.
    • Summarize: God called the ancient Jews to repent, promising to turn to them if they did.
  3. God’s Promises Concerning Jerusalem and Israel.
    • Read Zechariah 1:7.
    • Explain that three months later (February of 519 BC), God gave Zechariah another vision.
    • If time permits read Zechariah 1:8-11.
    • Tell the class Zechariah saw a vision of many angels who had come from patrolling the earth. They reported that the heathen nations were enjoying peace and rest.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 1:12-17.
    • Ask: “What did God say about Jerusalem and Zion (Israel) in verse 14?” (He is very jealous for them).
    • Ask: “According to verse 15, how did He feel about the heathen?” (very displeased).
    • Tell the students in verses 16-17 God made some promises concerning Jerusalem and Israel.
    • Ask them to silently re-read those verses and identify the promises they find (God promised to return to Jerusalem in mercy, see that His Temple is rebuilt, measure Jerusalem, cover Israel with prosperous cities, comfort Zion, and choose Jerusalem).
    • Summarize: God made some wonderful promises about what He would do for Jerusalem and Israel (Zion) as a whole.
  4. God’s Promises Concerning Those Who Hate the Jews.
    • Read Zechariah 1:18-21.
    • Explain that the horns in these verses represent foreign nations who conquered and scattered the Jews out of their land (the Assyrians and Babylonians).
    • Next (verse 20), Zechariah saw four carpenters or craftsmen.
    • Tell the class the word fray means to make someone tremble with terror.
    • Ask: “What did God promise?” (to frighten the Gentiles and cast them out of Israel).
    • God said these carpenters would cast the horns of the Gentiles out of the land of the Jews.
    • Summarize: God promised to deliver the Jews from their foreign oppressors, driving the Gentiles out of Israel.
  5. God’s Promises About Jerusalem’s Future.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 2:1-5.
    • Explain that next Zechariah saw a man (an angel) with a measuring line in his hand. The angel said he was going to measure Jerusalem.
    • Ask: “What did God promise in verse 4?” (to bless and enlarge Jerusalem so much that walls could not contain it).
    • Tell the class God made two more promises in verse 5. Ask them to silently re-read that verse and identify those promises (God promised to protect Jerusalem and to put His glory in the midst of the city).
    • Explain the following:
      • God has literally protected Jerusalem many times in the past.
      • His glory was present in Jerusalem in the person of His Son 2,000 years ago (John 1:14).
      • The ultimate fulfillment of these promises, however, will come during the Millennial Kingdom when Jesus literally reigns upon the throne of David in Jerusalem.
    • Summarize: God promised to bless, enlarge, protect, and bring His glory to Jerusalem.
  6. God’s Promises Concerning His Presence.
    • Tell the class in verses 6-9 God called the Jews who still remained in Babylon to come back to their homeland. Most (like Esther’s family) ignored this call and disobediently remained in the land of their captivity.
    • Tell the students the rest of this chapter contains several more promises.
    • Ask them to listen for those promises as you read Zechariah 2:10-13.
    • Ask the students to name the promises they found (God will return to dwell in the midst of them, many nations will come to the Lord, the Lord will inherit Judah and make it a holy land, and He will choose Jerusalem again).
    • Tell the class these promises will have their ultimate fulfillment in the Millennial reign of Christ.
    • Note that in verse 13 God told all flesh – every creature on earth – to be silent because He was ready to act.
    • Summarize: God promised to dwell in the midst of His people and draw many nations to Himself. That last promise is partially fulfilled in our salvation.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Review the lesson by asking the class to name some of the promises God made to the Jews. Ask: “Do you believe these promises will come true? Why, or why not?” Lead the class to discuss the trustworthiness of God’s promises. I may promise that something will take place in the future, but my promise does not guarantee it will actually happen. The promises God makes are believable because we know that He always keeps His word.

Tell the class in the 2,500 years since God gave these prophecies to Zechariah He has certainly blessed Israel and Jerusalem in many ways. He has also drawn many non-Jews (like us) to Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ. The ultimate fulfillment of these prophecies, however, will come in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

Ask: “Has God made any promises to us? Can you name some?” The Bible contains many promises that apply to us. Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read the following verses to the class: Matthew 11:28; John 14:2-3; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9; Philippians 4:6-7; Hebrews 13:5; 1 John 1:9. After each verse is read ask the students to name the promise God made. Tell them these are God’s promises to us and we can trust Him to keep His word.

Lead a closing prayer, thanking God for His promises and His trustworthiness, and asking Him to help us trust His Word.

 

CONCLUSION: Encourage the students to look up other favorite Bible promises and commit them to memory. Ask everyone to memorize Zechariah 1:3. Tell them to thank God for His promises every day.

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