Zechariah 11-12, Proverbs 31:1-9, Matthew 24 (NIV)

Zechariah 11-12- In Zechariah’s prophecy, chapter 11, we read of the devastation and destruction of the nation, Judah and Israel due to their faithlessness, arrogance and misuse of power.  Their kings, represented by the shepherds and lions, are not good and faithful leaders.  The broken staffs:  favor and union, represent the broken covenant with God.  Destruction followed. The Romans subjugated the area and took control.  In 70 A.D. Jerusalem was leveled by the Romans and in 73 A.D Masada fell.  Chapter 12  speaks of God’s promise to reclaim and save his people; Judah and Israel.  We read about  the final siege of Jerusalem and God’s saving protection in end times.

Proverbs 31:1-9-  Here we find practical instruction for kings/leaders.  Two things should be avoided by kings/leaders: 1. the accumulation of large harems and sexual indulgence and 2. drunkenness.  What then, should a king and faithful leader focus on?  Here’s what God desires; Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  9Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.  Jesus speaks of caring for the least of these (Matthew 25).  

Matthew 24- In Matthew we return to the discussion of faithfulness and unfaithfulness, judgment and end times. Verses 1-3 introduce the subject.  Then verses 4-31 involve the “Last Days,” which began with Jesus birth and incarnation and will end with his Second Coming.  Woven into these verses are events that have occurred as well as future end times and Jesus’ return.  The abomination of desolation refers to 168 B.C. when Antiochus Epiphanes constructed a pagan altar to Zeus on the sacred altar in the temple of Jerusalem.  There is imagery about the leveling of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D.  Some day Jesus will return. What is clear is that no one knows when he will return, verses 36-44.  What then should we do?  How then should we live?  See verses 45-51.  We should live by faithfully serving our master; that is by doing what Jesus wants us to do until we die or Jesus’ returns.

Devotional Thought-  We celebrate the first coming of Jesus, his incarnation, at Christmas.  We also eagerly anticipate his return and Second Coming.  Jesus was born in a stable and placed in a manger the first time he came to planet earth.  However, the second time he comes will be different.  Jesus will return as Lord of all and be seated upon a Throne.  All who love him and who have served him will celebrate his return and be welcomed into his presence forever. All who have lived in scorn of him will be found wanting and will be separated from Jesus forever.  Now is the time to welcome the Lord Jesus and live for him.