THINK: Have you ever been accused of something you didn't do? How did you feel? Confused? Angry? Betrayed? Helpless? How about when you've been accused of something you did do? Perhaps you had some of those same feelings - combined with real guilt - making it difficult to move on. Satan knows how debilitating guilt can be, so his prime strategy is to accuse you of what you've done wrong, what you haven't done right, and how you're unworthy to be used by God. Don't let the devil stand in the way of God's plans for you by using your past - or other people - to impede your progress. Let the Lord fight your battles. He's already defeated the devil and won the ultimate victory.
RESPOND: From what perspective did Zechariah's visions challenge people to view the temple restoration? (See 1:1 note.) What did God call people to do in 1:3, and what did He promise if they did this? (See 1:3 note.) From the vision in 1:8-11, how did the general state of the world differ from what Judah was experiencing (1:12)? (See 1:8- 11 note.) According to 1:18-21, what will happen to all who oppose God's people? (See 1:20-21 note.) What was Jerusalem's condition following the Babylonian exile, and how would that change in the future (2:5)? (See 2:1 note.) What future time period is described in 2:5? (See 2:1 and 2:5 notes.) What and when is "that day" (2:11), where will God's people come from, and where will the Lord be ? (See 2:10-12 note.) What did Joshua (3:1) represent, what was Satan doing, and how did the Lord respond (3:2)? (See 3:1 and 3:2 note.) How is this similar to what Jesus has done-and still does-for us? What did changing Joshua's clothes represent (3:4), and what did God expect of him after that (3:7)? (See 3:4 and 3:7 notes.) Who is "the Branch" (3:8), and what would He do for us? (See 3:8 note.)
PRAY: Give thanks for the restoration God has brought to your life and for the restoration He will bring to all the world at the end of time. Thank Jesus for being your advocate and defender against the forces of evil.
ACT: Are Satan's accusations about the past robbing you of joy and keeping you from the future God intends for you? Wise up to the devil's ways. Realize that the Holy Spirit has come alongside you, to remind you of Jesus' forgiveness and empower you to serve His purpose. Realize that your real conflict isn't with people, but with spiritual forces of evil. Give up your guilt and your grudges and get on with God's goals for your life.
THINK: If you've ever tried to accomplish God's plans in your own power, you've no doubt discovered the deficiency of your own abilities and the need for complete dependence on the Lord. Throughout God's Word there is ample evidence of the fact that no military might, political power or human strength can accomplish God's work apart from the power of God's Spirit. Even Jesus didn't start His earthly ministry without the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1,18), and the church was empowered to begin its mission only after Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to fill His followers at Pentecost (Acts 1:8; 2:4). Only as we continue to rely on the Spirit to guide and empower our lives will we accomplish God's plans for us.
RESPOND: What does the bowl of oil symbolize, what do the multiple lights represent, and how are these connected? (See 4:2 note.) What is vital in accomplishing God's purposes (4:6), and why is nothing else adequate? (See 4:6 note.) What difference can the power of God's Spirit make in how a person perceives and handles obstacles and problems? (See 4:7 note.) What must we keep in mind about God's purposes when they seem to start with very little (4:10)? (See 4:10 note.) What message did the flying scroll have for thieves, liars, and all who defy God? (See 5:1-4 note.) Why was it appropriate that the basket with the woman inside - representing all kinds of wickedness - was taken to Babylonia (5:11)? (See 5:5-11 note.) What do the horse-drawn chariots (6:1-5) represent in regard to God's enemies? (See 6:1-5 notes.) What does the crowning of Joshua represent (6:11ff), and how would the One he symbolizes fulfill the roles of both Priest and King? (See 6:13 note, subpoint 1.)
PRAY: Give thanks for the Holy Spirit's presence and power. Pray that you'll rely on that power to influence others to follow Him. Pray that you'll never discount God's ability to do very much when starting with very little.
ACT: Do you have an interest or talent you've never used for God's purposes? The Holy Spirit is ready to equip and empower you to honor God with the gift He's given. No matter how insignificant your ability may seem, yield it to God and let Him use it as He sees fit. Ask a leader or pastor how you can use your ability to serve the church.