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Zechariah 1:12

The Angel's Prayer

12 Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?"

When the whole world around you seems to be at peace, but nothing is going well for you, how do you feel? We might imagine that Zechariah felt the same way. After seeing in his vision that the world was at rest, he was probably wondering when Judah would emerge from the darkness of night that seemed to cover her.

It had been twenty years since the Babylonian captivity had ended, yet the city and the temple were still in a state of disrepair and the people seemed to have returned to their old sinful ways. Where was the promise of God that His indignation would only be poured out on Judah for seventy years?

Fortunately, we have a God who knows how we feel and cares about us. The angel of the LORD was there in the vision and he empathized with Zechariah. He knew what the prophet was thinking and he carried his concerns to the LORD of hosts. God's angels are posted around His people to minister to them. Since some believe that this Angel of the LORD was Jesus, we can also appreciate the fact that he is acting as a mediator. Whether he was Jesus or an angel, the angel would be doing the will of the Savior.

His prayer echoed the concerns of Zechariah, "O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years.?"

While some believe that this was a critical complaint against God's lack of mercy, that is a significant error. Those saints who have a close relationship with God have a right, perhaps even a duty to ask, "How long?" It is our duty to discover God's will for every aspect of our lives, especially one so important as the restoration of the holy city.

David cried, "How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD?"(See Psalms 13:1,2) and the souls under the altar in Revelation 6:10 cry out, "How long?"

Here the question is, "How long will you withold your mercy?" This is a prayer that appeals to God's will and calls upon His character as a merciful God. He described Himself to Moses, saying, "And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth," (Exodus 34:6) Such prayers that appeal to God's promises and to His character are most effective, and we should make greater efforts to know Him through His word.

God had punished Judah with seventy years of captivity, but twenty years later His beloved city, Jerusalem, and the other cities in Judah were not prospering. How long would God keep them in this nightly darkness? It was not only a question; it was also a plea for mercy.

Before the Throne:

Whenever you are afraid or depressed, ask God to show you His angels. Remember Elisha's servant's fear? "And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." (2Kings 6:16-17) Pray for God's will to be revealed to you in every difficult situation. It is perfectly acceptable to ask, "Why," or, "How long?" Remember that you have an Advocate interceding for you in the throne room of the Almighty.

For Further Study:

** the angel. Zech 1:8,10-11; Exod 23:20-23; Isa 63:9; Heb 7:25; ** how. Psa 74:10;69:5; 102:13; Isa 64:9-12; Rev 6:10; ** thou hast.
Zech 7:5; 2Chron 36:21; Jer 25:11-12;29:10; Dan 9:2;


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