11 But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the Lord of hosts. 12 ‘For the seed shall be prosperous, The vine shall give its fruit, The ground shall give her increase, And the heavens shall give their dew— I will cause the remnant of this people To possess all these. 13 And it shall come to pass That just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, So I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, Let your hands be strong.’
But now I will not treat the remnant of this people
The “remnant” here is those who returned from the Babylonian exile. Directly their fortunes will change from when they first returned. God will bless His people again. The “remnant” is a small group who escaped God’s cursing and will now enjoy His blessing.
as in the former days,’ says the Lord of hosts.
The “former days refer to the time before the rebuild of the temple. God will turn from cursing Israel to blessing the people (Mic 5:7; Zech 8:22-23). The era of the divine discipline of Israel was finished. God will turn from cursing Israel to blessing her.
‘For the seed shall be prosperous,
Farmers will produce prosperous harvests. Leviticus 26:3-10 promises God will bless Israel for those who respond to His promises by making the land prosper.
The vine shall give its fruit,
Grapevines will produce abundant grapes.
The ground shall give her increase,
The idea here is that grain such as wheat and barley will be productive (Hag 1:10).
And the heavens shall give their dew—
In a typically dry land, Israel will have stores of water.
I will cause the remnant of this people To possess all these.
The nation will be productive because God made it possible. He made it attainable because His people responded in faith to His promises.
And it shall come to pass That just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel,
The language of cursing and blessing in this verse is taken from the covenant of Deuteronomy 28 and Jeremiah 24:9; 25:18. The Lord determines whether Israel has claimed the promises by faith. He will control who will receive blessing or cursing. Her former behavior issued in cursing.
Judah was the southern kingdom, and Israel was the northern kingdom. Both kingdoms were involved in the return from Babylon.
So I will save [vindicate] you, and you shall be a blessing.
This challenge concludes where verse 9 began. Israel’s reversal of fortunes is a promise from God.
Do not fear, Let your hands be strong.’
God’s renewed blessing should be an encouragement to the people.
God’s promises of future blessing encourage people to accomplish their present tasks.
Our faith rests on our ability to recognize God’s glory and act on that knowledge. It is important to acknowledge God’s renewed grace in our lives as well.
The reason Christians serve God is not to give to get. Job served the Lord in the context of losing everything. We do not do what we do to become more wealthy or successful. We serve Him out of a response of appreciation for what He has already done for us.