I was but a little displeased - I was justly displeased with my people, and I gave their enemies a commission against them; but they carried this far beyond my design by oppression and cruelty; and now they shall suffer in their turn.
I am sore displeased - literally “with great anger am I angered against the nations which are at ease.” The form of the words shows that the greatness of the displeasure of God against those who oppress His people, is proportionate to the great and tender love toward themselves. God had been angered indeed with His people; with their enemies He was “angered with a great anger;” and that the more, because they were at ease, in unfeeling self-enjoyment amid the miseries of others.
I was a little displeased - Little, in comparison with our deserts; little in comparison with the anger of the human instruments of His displeasure; little in comparison with theirs, who, in their anger, sought their own ends.
They helped forward the affliction - o“He is wroth with the nations at ease, because He delivered His people to be corrected, but they used cruelty toward those delivered; He wills them to be amended as a son by a schoolmaster; they set themselves to slay and punish them, as an enemy. Like that in Isaiah, “I gave them into thy hands; thou didst show them no mercy; upon the ancients hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke” Isaiah 47:6.
Or it may be, “helped for evil,” in order to bring about evil, as in Jeremiah, “Behold I set My face against you for evil, and to destroy all Judah” Jeremiah 44:11, that is, as we should say, they were the instruments of God,, “cooperated in the execution of My justice toward you, but cruelly and with perverse intention. For although the Assyrians and Chaldaeans wasted the Jewish people, God so ordaining in as far as He willed through them to punish in the present the sins of His people, yet they did it, not in view of God and out of zeal for righteousness, but out of pride covetousness and with the worst ends. Hence God says by Isaiah, “Woe to Asshur, the rod of Mine anger, and the staff in his hand is Mine indignation. Howbeit he thinketh not so, but his heart is to destroy and cut off nations not a few” Isaiah 10:5, Isaiah 10:7.
To His children today the Lord declares, “Be strong, ... and work: for I am with you.” The Christian always has a strong helper in the Lord. The way of the Lord's helping we may not know; but this we do know: He will never fail those who put their trust in Him. Could Christians realize how many times the Lord has ordered their way, that the purposes of the enemy concerning them might not be accomplished, they would not stumble along complainingly. Their faith would be stayed on God, and no trial would have power to move them. They would acknowledge Him as their wisdom and efficiency, and He would bring to pass that which He desires to work out through them. PK 576.1
The earnest pleadings and the encouragements given through Haggai were emphasized and added to by Zechariah, whom God raised up to stand by his side in urging Israel to carry out the command to arise and build. Zechariah's first message was an assurance that God's word never fails and a promise of blessing to those who would hearken to the sure word of prophecy. PK 576.2Read in context »
In vision Zechariah heard the angel of the Lord inquiring, “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? And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me,” Zechariah declared, “with good words and comfortable words. PK 580.1
“So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, ... and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.” Zechariah 1:12-16. PK 580.2
The prophet was now directed to predict, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.” Verse 17. PK 580.3Read in context »