We Wait in Hope
I. Zechariah – MINOR prophet with a MAJOR message. (1:1-6)
A. The CONTEXT of this BOOK. (Jer. 25:11, 33:11-14; Ez, 5:1-2)
B. The STRUCTURE of the DREAMS. (Zech. 1-6)
Welcome to Advent, the season of the Christian Year (actually the beginning of the Christian Year) when we refocus on our longing for the return of Jesus as we prepare to celebrate his coming 2000 years ago. Zechariah may seem like a weird place to start, but I can promise you it will lead us right up to the manger and on our way there we will find strength to celebrate Jesus in the midst of a very hopeless world.
1. Have you ever read Zechariah before? What were you impressions?
2. When have you had an “exile” experience? What was that like? How long did it last?
II. What ZECHARIAH is DREAMING of. (1:1-17; 6:1-8)
A. HERE come the HORSES. (1:8-9; 6:1-2)
B. GOD has INTERVENED. (1:10-15; 6:5-7)
C. The PROMISE is COMING. (1:16-17; 6:8)
D. The QUESTION is WHEN. (Ps. 13)
Zechariah’s visions start and end with the hope for peace. The horsemen (and horses) show up, quite different from the 4 horsemen of Revelation, and state that good things have already come. The problem is that the reality that Zechariah sees doesn’t always look so good.
3. Kid’s Question: When have you had to wait for something that you really wanted? What was that like?
4. How do we know when God “intervenes”? When has God appeared to intervene, but you were still left with unanswered questions?
5. Does Psalm 13 encourage you or make you nervous about where God might lead you in the future? Why?
III. LIGHTING the CANDLE of hope. (Ps 18:28)
A. ACKNOWLEDGING our LONGING. (Ps. 10:17; Ps 38:8-10)
B. BELIEVING what we can’t yet SEE. (Heb. 2:8-9,11:1)
C. Hope RELIES on TRUST. (Rom. 15:13)
We light candles each week at Advent. It’s a small practice, but a powerful one that reminds us of the power of light over darkness. In our very dark world there is still the light of Jesus. He will continue to guard and protect that light until it comes in fulness. Our lighting the candle today is a declaration of trust.
6. What are you longing for this Advent season? How can you express that longing to God? In what ways is that longing an invitation to let God shape you?
7. Where do you find it hardest to trust that all things are under the reign of Jesus? Why is that and how can you grow in your surrender to that truth?
8. What experiences in the past (Ebenezers) have helped you learn to trust in Jesus more? How can reflecting on this enrich your Advent worship?