Three months later, on February 15, the Lord sent another message to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah and grandson of Iddo. In a vision during the night, I saw a man sitting on a red horse that was standing among some myrtle trees in a small valley. Behind him were riders on red, brown, and white horses. I asked the angel who was talking with me, “My lord, what do these horses mean?” “I will show you,” the angel replied.
The rider standing among the myrtle trees then explained, “They are the ones the Lord has sent out to patrol the earth.”
Then the other riders reported to the angel of the Lord, who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have been patrolling the earth, and the whole earth is at peace.”
Upon hearing this, the angel of the Lord prayed this prayer: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, for seventy years now you have been angry with Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. How long until you again show mercy to them?” And the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.
Then the angel said to me, “Shout this message for all to hear: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Jerusalem and Mount Zion is passionate and strong. But I am very angry with the other nations that are now enjoying peace and security. I was only a little angry with my people, but the nations inflicted harm on them far beyond my intentions.”
Like Haggai, Zechariah encouraged the people to continue rebuilding the Temple, whose reconstruction had been halted for nearly fifteen years. Zechariah combated the people’s spiritual apathy, despair over pressures from their enemies, and discouragement about the smaller scale of the new Temple foundation.
The angel of the Lord saw that all the nations were secure and at peace while Israel was still oppressed and despised. But God was planning a change. He had released his people, and he would allow them to return and rebuild his Temple. God’s people had lived under his judgment for seventy years during their captivity in Babylon. But here God spoke words of comfort and assurance.
If you feel wounded and torn by the events of your life, turn to God so he can heal and comfort you.