Zechariah chapter 8

The first interesting characteristic of this chapter is the number of times Zechariah uses the term “Thus says the Lord of Hosts” (KJV). The term is used no less than 10 (ten) times in the chapter. From this we can deduce that Zechariah wanted it to be absolutely clear that these are not his words but God's own words. “The Lord Almighty” — or as the King James version has it (more correctly), “The Lord of Hosts” or “The Lord of Armies” — is the Hebrew phrase 'Jehovah Sabaoth' and it is used often in our chapter. It is important for us to take careful note of this particular name of God for there is a specific reason why it is used. God is called by many names in the Old Testament and each of them refers to a different characteristic of Himself.

For the sake of interest, we looked at a few of these names and their meanings:

Jehovaj Jireh             God our Provider

Jehovah Nissi            God our Banner

Jehovah Shalom        God our Peace

Jehovah Tsidkenu      God our Righteousness

Jehovah Rapha          God our Healer

Each of these names is used at specific times and in specific places in the Old Testament and it is good to study the context where a specific name is used. The name Jehovah Sabaoth (God of Hosts/Armies) is used for the first time in the Old Testament in 1 Samuel 1:6-16: 'Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord of Hosts, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.” “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.'

From the depths of her despair, Hannah calls on the name of Jehovah Sabaoth. She was at the end of herself experiencing the reality of knowing that all her own efforts had proven themselves fruitless and that there was no one to turn to but God for her salvation and help. In Zechariah 8, Jehovah Sabaoth expresses His deep concern for and Jealousy over Israel and He reveals His intention to act on their behalf and secure their salvation. Also in Scripture, David confronts the giant Goliath in the name of Jehovah Sabaoth as we read in 1 Samuel 17:45: 'Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.' David knew very well that he was not challenging Goliath confident in his own strength, but completely in the strength of Jehovah Sabaoth. We also see this name of God in Psalm 46:11: 'The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.'

Verse 3 is significant as it describes the city being “full of Truth” because of the presence of God dwelling there. Truth cannot exist apart from Him. So, also, we see that the mountain becomes holy only because God is present. So it is with our lives— we cannot be any of the things Scripture 'instructs' us to be if God is not present in us! This reminds us of another name for God used only in Ezekiel 48:35: 'The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.' The phrase here is 'Jehovah Shammah' meaning 'God is there'.

This, dear friends, is the overriding message of the chapter: God's greatest blessing of the inhabitants of the land is not the fruitfulness of the vine or people living to a ripe old age. It is the fact that He comes and lives with them. This is also the essence of what enables them to be a blessing to the nations as they were intended to be (verse 13 and echoed again in verse 20 – 23). The foreigners will come to Jerusalem for no other reason other than God’s presence there. These last verses of Zechariah 8 reminds us of John 12:20-21: 'Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”’

Only if he has made His home in us, will others see and be drawn to Him in us and we will indeed be a Blessing to many.