May 3, 2012

Today you should read: Zechariah 2

Horsemen? Horns and craftsmen? Measuring lines? Judgment, vindication, redemption? Overflowing cities surrounded by walls of fire? What kind of wild reading is this?

The Bible.

Anyone that thinks the Bible is boring has clearly not read it and seen the amazing allegories and illustrations, dreams and visions, historical narrative, and apocalyptic literature. It’s easy to see where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein’s inspirations came from in their fantastical writings like The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Hobbit.

In today’s reading we see that Zechariah’s visions are getting more and more specific. The first vision we encountered yesterday (chapter 1) had a wide scope: the earth. The horsemen report that “all is at rest” and yet God’s people are not at rest. The next vision we came upon was a little more focused as its scope was the nations. The four craftsmen will vindicate Judah and all nations that hindered/scattered Judah will endure severe punishment.

Today, the vision is now zoomed in to Jerusalem. In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful prophecies in all of scripture. Why? Because Jerusalem is so full of people — Jews & Gentiles — and God is her protection:

“…and said to him, “Run, say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.’” Zechariah 2:4-5

Verse 11 is a fantastic parallel to Revelation 7 and the picture of the ethnic diversity of heaven:

And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. Zechariah 2:11

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10

I don’t know what you may glean from reading today’s passage, but I am left with an overwhelming gratitude simply because God included us in His plan. He had His chosen people; He could have just redeemed Israel, and yet we — the Gentiles — were on His heart as well.

Thank the Lord today for including you in His glorious plan of redemption!

Posted by: Todd Thomas

May 2, 2012

Today you should read: Zechariah 1

The book of Zechariah was written by Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo who was probably his grandfather (1:1 and Ezra 5:1 and 6:14). Zechariah was a prophet in Judah and he lived and prophesized about 520 B.C. during the reign of Darius king of Persia.  He was a contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).  He was martyred – Jesus told us that Zechariah was killed between the altar and the temple (Luke 11:51).

Zechariah as depicted on Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

Like many of the other Minor Prophets we’ve been studying, Zechariah chapter 1 is a call for God’s people to return to the Lord.

Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. (v. 2)

Zechariah goes on to challenge the people not to be like their stubborn ancestors who refused to listen and brought judgment on themselves and those around them.

Don’t be like your ancestors who would not listen or pay attention … (v. 4)

God is merciful – full of kindness to His people.  Aren’t you glad!  This very prophetic chapter reminds us what John tells us about our Father.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

Our Father is full of grace – giving us what we absolutely do not deserve and often holding back the punishment we do deserve.  However, we must also realize that He’s equally full of truth – justice.  Our God is as Just as He is Loving – as full of Truth as He is Grace.

I think for many of us today – God is saying the same thing as He did to the people in Zechariah’s day…

Return to me.  Don’t be like others who pay no attention to my warnings.

What are the areas in which God is calling you to return today?  Unfulfilled promises?  Forgotten commitments?  Is He calling you away from destructive, habitual sin in your life?

What are you going to do?  Repent – turn from your sin, confess and seek accountability to keep you on track or continue to ignore the warnings?

My prayer for you today, is that you will acknowledge God’s love and grace, and respond to your wonderful Father.

Posted by: Tim Parsons