Are we, in our land, eagerly seeking God? Are we of one mind when we turn towards the Lord God? Sadly, we have to say no. We have bent over backwards to accommodate those who oppose the ways of the Lord God. We seem to be searching for a non-existent peace that will accommodate all religions and all political views. When will we learn that peace is only found in the one Holy God who has revealed himself through Jesus Christ, God’s Son and our Saviour.
The peaceful years during Asa and Jehoshaphat’s reigns is a glimpse of what God wants to do for all the people of Israel and Judah, and indeed, the whole world. What if our whole Country were to follow the one true God?
Dear Lord God, we want to seek you and learn to know you, the one true God. Continue to extend your mercy towards us. We accept your forgiveness, and we eagerly wait for your joy to fill us, and to spill over into the world around us.
I can imagine a great crowd of people singing this song and dancing – sort of like the Jesus March – remember those days?
Lead on Lord – Bruce Moore, Jennifer Manhas
Text: 2 Chronicles 9-12 (Psalm 73)
Observe: Solomon enjoys international acclaim and possesses vast wisdom and wealth – a showcase for the Queen of Sheba’s visit (chapter 9), duly impressing his impressive visitor. But misuse of God’s gifts later in his life were his undoing, as power and idolatry usurps his faith in the Lord God, (1 Kings 11) though not mentioned in Chronicles.
His son Rehoboam, born into incredible wealth and privilege, is a chip off the old sceptre. Jeroboam comes from Egypt to plead for amnesty for Israel, after Solomon’s tyranny had become sad fact. Rehoboam calls the wise elders, who counsel gentle speech to win Israel’s loyalty. Ignoring them, he turns to his friends who advise harshness. Power gone to his head, he tells Jeroboam, … I will discipline you with scorpions. (10:11) Leaving behind Judah and Benjamin, Israel abandons the house of David. Barely crowned, Rehoboam has split God’s land into the Northern (Israel)Kingdom under Jeroboam, and Southern (Judah) Kingdom.
Perhaps to display power, Rehoboam sends Solomon’s slave master to them; they kill him. Fearful, Rehoboam flees to Jerusalem. Rebelling against Judah, Israel secedes completely. Jeroboam sets up idols and throws the priests out of the kingdom. Faithful to the Lord, they find refuge in Jerusalem. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam… secure… (11:17). (Only three?)
Rehoboam battles to reunite the kingdoms, but the Lord prevents him from fighting Jeroboam. He sets up defenses throughout Judah and Benjamin. By chapter 12, after five years he abandons all pretense of serving the Lord. Egypt plunders Jerusalem, yet a moment of repentance stays the Lord’s hand: when he humbled himself. the wrath of the Lord turned from him… (12:12). God gives partial amnesty to Judah.
Interpret: As in all totalitarian states, power and oppressive opportunities abound as “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We see this in these three kings, losing the fear of God as they rule, becoming tyrants, idolaters, slavedrivers, unconcerned for the people or for God. At the end, the only absolute is God’s justice tempered by wisdom and mercy as they repent -- the point Chronicles wants to make about Rehoboam.
Apply: It’s good practice to make a timeline of our lives, seeing God as our life-companion. Chronicles (“a factual written account of important or historical events in the order of their occurrence”) provides a timeline in the Hebrew Bible, recalling errors, consequences, and occasional right actions of the kings. It reveals how frail human wills are when we stray from God’s will.
We might recollect our spiritual lives, the highs and lows, people who influenced us, times when the Lord carried us, when we ran from Him, or when He drew us back to Himself in His unfathomable love. We thank Him for what and who He placed on our timeline, reminders that His perfect will guides our lives.
Knowing our strengths and weaknesses, we resist the lie of self-sufficiency, as so many of the kings did not. We rely on His Spirit, acknowledging God is our sufficiency. Let’s lift our hearts to Him often to realign our hearts and minds with His.
Ask: Lord, am I using Your gifts to honour You, or just to impress others? Do I pray for and seek wise counsel when I need it, or rely on my own ideas? If someone rebukes me out of love and concern, do I humbly receive and change? Am I Your instrument of unity -- or of division?
Pray: Lord God, I pray for peace, order and good government, that You would bring our leaders to seek Your wise counsel, humbly repent and turn to You. Bind us together in Your perfect love. For this I pray, for them I pray, King Jesus.
Song: Ps. 73: Whom Have I in Heaven but You? Sons of Korah
Ps. 73: Hangad
Ps. 73: MP Jones
Chapters 25-27 consist of notations and divisions of musicians, gate keepers, treasurers, troops, and tribes under King David’s command. Chapter 28 is a series of speeches by David before his assembled officials and commanders in which he recounts aspects of his life, specifically the interaction he had with the Lord when he wanted to build Him a house of rest. He recalls that the Lord told David that because he was a man of blood and war, he could not build the Lord’s house, but that David’s son Solomon would be the one to build it. Despite this, David continued to do all he could to prepare the goods and materials needed for the temple. At this point David charges the people of Israel to observe and seek out all the commandments of the Lord so that He may bless them in their land and keep it as an inheritance for their children forevermore.
David then turns to his son, Solomon, and charges him to know God and serve Him with a whole heart and willing mind, saying “Be careful now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.” He then goes on to hand down all the plans for the temple that had been revealed by God. The last chapter of this book tells of the whole assembly gladly giving of their own possessions to the temple preparations and sacrificing many animals. David then blesses the Lord and prayed before the entire assembly, acknowledging that all he and the people of Israel had given was already a gift from the Lord. He humbly declares “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you … our days on earth are like a shadow and there is no abiding.”
After these prayers and pleas, there is a great feast of gladness before the Lord. Solomon is anointed king, and David passes away.
The book of Chronicles encapsulates key points of the Biblical narrative thus far and homes in on specific themes. As this first part of Chronicles ends, the author thoroughly underlines David’s heart before the Lord before he passes away, suggesting that what he says in these final chapters is his life’s work. David, in a blessing over the congregation before him, ascribes all power, glory, greatness, majesty, honour, riches, and victory to God Almighty, exalting Him before all the people of Israel. This is the fundamental message of the life of King David. He then declares that all the good things that Israel has and offers to God is already a gift from God, and that humility is the only proper posture before Him.
Following this, David turns from the congregation to his son Solomon and charges him to know God and to serve him with an undivided heart and willing mind, as well as to take care in all things for the Lord has chosen Solomon to build His temple. We can imagine that such a charge humbled Solomon as he kept his eyes keen on the greatness of God – it was in this state that Solomon had pleased God by asking only for wisdom and discernment when he was king!
David makes a clear and obvious lesson out of these prayers, one that the author of Chronicles took pains to point out to us as the bedrock upon which David learned to build his life: Go after God and His truth first, engage in the work of God next.
This is a clear Divine command revealed through the entire life of David which has a contemporary in the gospel of Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” In fact, it is safe to say that Solomon had this right in the beginning of his reign but soon forgot about the righteousness of God, pursuing other pleasures and leading to the destruction of his kingdom! How quickly we can forget the sound teachings of our God and take our eyes off Him.
We all have plans and ideas and goals, which are never a bad thing in and of themselves – but how many of us truly lay down our own lives and seek that of the Kingdom of God first? There are many wonderful changes happening these days as our city and province open back up into a semblance of normalcy and we are able to dream and plan in ways we haven’t been able to in such a long time. As we look ahead, let us not forget that if we want to follow Christ, we must must must take care to seek what He wants first and submit to His will before we dare strike out on our own. To honour Him, we must put Him first. He is our goal and fulfilment – not anything we can do ourselves! Learn from the life of David and consider why it is that he made the Lord the master of his life.
What does it mean that “all these things will be given to you as well”? What do you wish it to mean? Are you willing to lay down your very desires and let God shape them?
Lord, thank you for looking after us these past many months in what has certainly felt like an exile. Thank you for your protection and care and for teaching us to lean on you instead of ourselves. I pray that we might all come to depend on you in truth instead of our own understanding. Give us a glimpse of your greatness and power this day so that we might be properly humble and give you the honour you deserve! Amen.
Song: Build My Life - Pat Barrett
Text 1 Chronicles 22-24 (Ps 76)
Observe David builds an altar to the Lord on the site he had purchased earlier. As he will not be building the Temple, (his past violence and bloodshed is the deterrent to the privilege) he prepares Solomon to take on this immense task. David blesses him and admonishes him to stay faithful to the Lord. (22:11-13) He begins amassing materials for the building. Advanced iage, David formally appoints Solomon his successor.
He divides the Levites into three groups, named after Levi’s sons: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Registering them for their tasks as recorded in the Torah, he distributes them among Levites over the age of 30 (Num 4:1-3): in the Temple’s construction, as judges, gatekeepers, and musicians. God’s praise will be constant; 4,000 Levites will sing and play instruments of David’s making for this purpose.
Their job descriptions change. Solomon will reign in peace, so the Levites no longer carry the Tabernacle from place to place. The Lord will reside in the Temple. Levites 20 years and over oversee the Temple and Tabernacle, assist the priests in their duties and do the everyday work of the Temple – an Altar Guild, of sorts. But their chief task? … to stand every morning and thank and praise the Lord. (23:26)
David places the priests themselves, descendants of Aaron, into 24 divisions chosen by lot. The fairest way to delegate, this avoids favouritism in age and rank. Priests carry out scheduled duties (Luke 1:8-9) as given by the Lord from the time of Aaron.
Interpret Lists of names are hard to read and interpret. Because descent was significant, we understand why genealogies and these tedious lists find inclusion in the Hebrew Bible. Painstaking naming is for future generations. Ancestral naming remains part of Semitic culture.
David’s vision for the magnificent structure was passed on to Solomon, planning and provision done well in advance. Now David, still a man after God’s heart, stays in the background and it becomes “Solomon’s temple”. While the Jews built the Tabernacle, Tyreans brought cedar from Gentile Lebanon and assisted in the construction. (Jesus, our Temple, draws all people to Himself.)
We consider how seriously praising God was taken, a vital task for the younger Levites, never to be neglected.
Apply If we’ve been in the spotlight at various times, it can be hard to yield centre stage to others. David faded into the background as he prepared Solomon for succession. In humility, he gave his young son the role, quietly using his gifts of administration and organization to carry out the vision. Not the builder of this splendid edifice, he was, finally, content just to be the Lord’s.
We might respond, ‘Praise the Lord!’ to good news, someone’s success, or answered prayer. That’s right to do, but the Temple community made a point of praising and thanking God, day and night (Ps. 134). Praise matters!
“Lift up your hearts./We lift them up to the Lord” the BCP liturgy instructs. Let’s cultivate this habit throughout our day. It takes practice and we might forget, but God’s Spirit will remind us! Simple words of praise free us from self-absorption as we look to the One who keeps our hearts.
Ask How hard is it for me to let someone else take over a task I do well? Can I graciously accept help? Is frequent intentional praise part of my day?
Pray Lord Jesus, I lift my heart to You. Lord, take my heart and my life. Jesus, thank You that You bought me at such a price. Father, I want to do Your will today. Praise you, great God! There are so many variants!
Song Psalm 76 (Neander) Trinity Psalms
Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life
Text: 1 Chronicles 18-21
Observe: Chapter 18 records Israel’s victories over the other nations in the region. Under King David’s leadership, they defeat the Philistines, Moabites, Arameans, and all the other kingdoms around Israel. King David takes the plunder in weapons and various articles made of gold, silver and bronze, which he then dedicates to the Lord God. Chapter 18 ends with these words, “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went”.
Chapters 19 and 20 describes how the Ammonites insulted David’s goodwill gesture when their old king died, and rebelled against Israel. They even hired the Arameans to fight alongside them, but when they came up against Israel’s army, they all fled. David took their crown and their treasures, and enslaved their people as punishment. He also marched against and defeated the Philistines, and in a parallel story to his own, his nephew slew a giant Philistine warrior.
In Chapter 21, however, things take turn for the worse. Satan appeals to David’s pride and persuades him to take a census of his fighting men to show just how powerful a king he was. When the Lord saw David’s sin, He confronts David through the words of his wise general, Joab. When David repents, he is given choice of punishments; three years of famine, three months of military losses, or three day of the Lord’s plague on the land. David choses to be punished by the Lord’s own hand of plague, and seventy thousand of his people died as a result. As the people of the city of Jerusalem were dying, the Lord, in His mercy, relented and said enough punishment had been meted out.
The Angel of the Lord who was handling the plague was at the threshing floor of Araunah, a Jebusite when God relented. David realized that it was his sinfulness had caused this great punishment to fall on his people, and asked the Lord not to punish them for his sins, but to let His hand fall on him and his family. God ordered David to build an altar and make sacrifices right there on the threshing floor. Although Araunah would have given David everything he needed to build the altar and make the sacrifices, David insisted on paying for all of it. When he had offered his sacrifices, and did as the Lord commanded, God withdrew the plague, and David was chastened.
Interpret: Chapter 18 says, “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went”. God blessed His people Israel by conquering all the kingdoms in the land. But as the victories added up, and Israel became more powerful, King David forgot that it was by the power of the Lord that he was so successful, not by his own strength. When David’s pride swelled within him and he wanted to see just how big and powerful his army was, God reminded him that it was by His will alone that Israel succeeded, not by David’s leadership. David was humbled and when he realized his error, he asked God not to punish the people for his sin. He even insisted on paying for everything needed for the sacrifice from his own pocket because it would be no “sacrifice’ at all to give God anything that wasn’t his.
Application: It’s easy for us to forget God when everything is going our way and the living is easy. It’s easy for us to believe that our successes are due to our own talent and efforts. It’s easy for us to take pride in our own accomplishments. But, we need to remember that is was God who created us; God who gave us our talents and abilities; and God who gave us the opportunities to succeed. It is by His hand that we live and move and have our being, Acts 17:28. When David compared the people of Israel to being a flock of sheep and said that he was their shepherd, he also said that he should be the one to be punished and the people should be spared. It is an interesting foreshadowing of one of his descendants, who was the Great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus, who would ultimately take the punishment for us all and spare us from the judgment and punishment of God.
Questions: Have you ever sat back with a kind of smug pride in one of your accomplishments without giving thanks to God for His provision? Do you remember that all your successes are due to God’s work in your life?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminders we have in Your Word handed down to us through Holy Scripture for our education and salvation. Help us remember your great mercy and give you thanks in all our successes and triumphs, as well as in all our trails and defeats. Let us not be led astray by a false pride in our own abilities and strength. Give us hearts and minds to give you thanks in all aspects of our life, so that you would always be glorified and your name lifted high. This we pray in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Song: Give Thanks: Don Moen
The Ark of the Covenant was built after Moses received the commandments on the mountain, after the exodus from Egypt. It stored the tablets on which were written God’s law and was meant to remind the people of God’s covenant in both judgement and mercy. Although the Ark travelled with the people through the wilderness, it was always carried and cared for by the people from the tribe of Levi. It was never meant to be a magical icon to give them success in war (see Numbers 10:33. Deuteronomy 10, 31:9, 25-26).
Is there something that God has given us that we are treating as magic rather than honoring the God who made us, who is “I AM”. Sometimes I think we view our service of Holy Communion as a magical rite i.e. we say the right words and do the right actions and we will get what we want from God. I would remind us that God is not limited by any human formulas or boundaries we might put up. God is the original I AM who created us for relationship with themselves (the Holy Trinity—Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit).
Dear Lord God, the great I AM—I will wait for you to meet with me, not at my beckoning but by your grace, you come. May my desire be always to know you more deeply.
I can imagine a great crowd of people singing this song and dancing as the Ark was brought into the city and into its own tent.
Lead on Lord – Bruce Moore, Jennifer Manhas
Text: 1 Chronicles – Chapters 11-14
OBSERVE: After ten chapters of genealogies and the mention of the fall of Saul, the text quickly shifts to David. In Chapter 11, we immediately read about David becoming the King of Israel and his first act of duty is to conquer Jerusalem. Joab becomes the commander of the army after leading the attack on Jerusalem. We then read about the mighty warriors of David and their exploits which is followed in the text by a description of many esteemed men who join David’s army.
In chapter 13, we read about David calling for the ark to join him in Jerusalem. This decision appears to be a little too spontaneous as Uzzah is killed by touching the ark. This sequence then causes David to be afraid and troubled by God. The ark remains at the house of Obed-Edom for three months, which brings about many blessings to this particular household. However, David’s rule as King is certified as God leads David’s army to victory over the Philistines which brings all the nations to fear David.
INTERPRET: The book of Chronicles commences with ten chapters of genealogies. These genealogies are important to understand as they begin with the genealogy of Adam; which clearly shows the link between Israel and the human race. From there the lists move through the genealogies of the tribes of Israel, in particular the tribe of Judah which occurs at the front of the list. David’s ancestors and royal descendants are prominently featured in its center. History then begins with Saul’s demise and David’s rise. All the genealogies in Chronicles end when David arrives on the historical scene thus showing that all of history to this point has been waiting for David from the tribe of Judah – all history at this point is regarded as a footnote to David.
The importance of David is clear in these chapters as we read about David becoming King and capturing Jerusalem. It is clear that genealogy and geography are key focal points in these chapters. David’s reign has begun and the land where the temple will be built has been obtained. The book is directing our attention to David; and in particular what God will do through him.
APPLICATION: The genealogies help us see that there had been a plan for David, long before David was aware of his calling. God had a purpose for David before he was born. Despite many setbacks and failures, David was able to fulfill his purpose because of God’s mercy, patience and faithfulness.
God has a purpose for all of us. He has called us to serve his Kingdom and will help us to be faithful. God will stand by us as he did with David. God will show us mercy when we seek his forgiveness, he will be patient with us and he will be faithful to his promises. David may have been the earthly king of Israel, but we will all be royalty in God’s eternal Kingdom - if we put our faith and trust in him; just as David did.
REFLECTION: Reflect on the truth that God had a purpose and plan for you long before your birth.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus; I am holding on to your promise that you will keep me strong to the end so that I will be blameless on the day when you bring everything into the light. How I long to hear your “well done” on that day. It’s your Spirit at work inside me that makes me confident that that day will surely come. AMEN.
The book of Malachi is the last in our Bibles before what is called the Intertestamental Gap which spans about four hundred years before the events of the Gospel unfold, however we will be following a slightly different order during our Bible in One Year calendar.
Malachi has four chapters but is conveniently divided into three parts. The first part spans from 1:1-2:9, and begins by God declaring His special love for Israel over that of Esau, yet Israel does not return this love. The Lord continues drawing attention to the priests who are neglecting the temple and offering inadequate, often polluted sacrifice. “And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? Says the Lord of hosts.” (1:8).
These priests have been marked as the chief offenders as they deliberately profane temple worship, so the Lord rebukes them, comparing them to their chief model whom they look nothing like: the example set by Levi as an upright and righteous man before God.
Part two is shorter, going from 2:10-16 and is a condemnation against Judah who has committed abomination and injustice countless times. A special point is made to acknowledge the evil of those men who have been unfaithful to their companion Israelite wives and going after women of other nations, both breaking the God-given bond that existed between them and profaning the commandments of the Lord. It is said that the man who does not love his wife but divorces her covers his garment in violence.
The third part, 2:17-4:6, points ahead to Jesus and John the Baptist. Malachi speaks of the Great Day of the Lord which is to come, during which time He will reveal His providence, purify and refine His people, and vindicate those who had held fast to Him in love when all others fell away and committed great and terrible sins. Elijah is said to be coming and an admonition follows to remember the Law of Moses and return to God, so they may be healed and prosper. “For behold the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble … But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.” (4:1,3).
Well it looks like we have come full circle. The people of the house of Israel had gone into exile for their great sin, were led back home by the merciful hand of God, and basically jumped right back into whatever evil they were doing before. Worse yet was the fact that they seemed to blame God and question Him and His goodness, never mind that they were profaning His very temple!
They did the things they knew would incur the right and proper wrath of God and accused Him of not being loving. They offered pitiful, sick animals on the altar in direct disobedience to their covenant and wept when He wouldn’t look with pleasure upon what they had done. They grumbled and complained at the weariness of their occupation yet couldn’t see how they had spoked against God.
If it wasn’t clear so far, Malachi shows us today and Israel then that it wasn’t the possession of a city or temple that made them right with God, but the condition of their hearts. Indeed, depending on walls for safety and meager offerings for divine favour only led them to complacency and corruption. Judah did not fear God. A great and terrible day is prophesied when the Lord Himself would come to His temple and begin refining His people – a day when scarce few could stand before Him.
It is only after this purifying and refining that the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord. The faithful few that continued to fear the Lord and set their hearts on Him would be called His treasured possession in those coming days. We can see through our knowledge of the Gospel that Jesus is the one prophesied here, and that He would not only come to His temple and preach the Kingdom of God, but also make right those who come to Him and enable them to please God. A sharp distinction is drawn in chapter three saying “Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”
This Old Testament period drew constant distinctions between those who loved and obeyed God and those who followed their own sinful hearts, corrupting and profaning His covenant. Between those who served God and those who did not. It couldn’t be expressed more plainly in Malachi that, after all this time and warning, enough is enough – God Himself is going to come and refine His people; to burn away that which is evil and purify that which is good. A conviction settles over the people of Judah at these words to either choose life or death. To serve God or not to serve Him. To act righteously or act wickedly. There are no punches pulled here, it is said plain as day. Yet this reality is not confined to the past.
We are faced with the exact same choice today that Israel faced then. Each of us have the option to choose between following Jesus or following our own sinful hearts, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. We can choose to be one with Christ and take on His righteousness or we can choose to make our own way and perish in our sins. The most beautiful news is that Christ died in your stead so that anyone who comes to Him can have His life!
Let us not only read the book of Malachi as some sort of historical account, but as one who pointed to the means by which we can be made right with God this very day. Take hold of the reality that the God of the universe knows your name and has cleared the way for you to come to Him forever!
Have you accepted this free gift of salvation and relationship with God through Jesus Christ? If so, do you actually live as if you have? Do you give God the place He deserves in your life?
Father God, I thank you for being so patient with us throughout ages past and also this very hour. Please guide me to true repentance this day that I might lay my life down at the foot of the cross and begin to live my life in and through your perfect Son. I pray that you refine me, wash and clean me from all unrighteousness, that I might be a pleasing offering to you all the days of my life. Thank you for calling me and holding me. Amen!
Song: But For You Who Fear My Name - the Welcome Wagon
Text Zechariah 9-14 (Ps.62)
Observe Zechariah offers hope to those returning to a country they don’t even remember after a 70-year absence. While he foretells Israel’s rejection of the Messiah (9:1-11:17), he also speaks of His coming when Israel will finally be delivered.
Chapter 13:8,9 speaks of refinement by fire that produces gold (Ezek.5:4). In this melting-down process, Israel will return to the Lord, and in His splendid word, “They will be my people.”
Zechariah names the plagues that will be visited on those nations who reject Him (14:12-19). But the chapter has this astounding foretelling on the unknown Day of the Lord: Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day--a day known only to the LORD—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. (14:5b-9).
Interpret Zechariah (“The Lord remembers”) is the most Messianic of the 12 Minor Prophets. These chapters contain two oracles of salvation and deliverance – these visions came later in his life.
Born in Babylon, Zechariah returns from Exile with his grandfather, the priest Iddo. His lineage being priest as well as prophet, he encourages the returnees struggling to rebuild their lives. While he speaks judgment on Judah and beyond, he offers hope to them.
Besides encouragement, the sovereignty of God is a principal theme. The coming Messiah will establish a renewed people of hope and faith in Him. But He is not limited to time, place or people group; He was, is, and is to come, King for all nations.
Here are a few New Testament references and allusions to Messiah Jesus, from Zechariah:
- Your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (9:9) Mt 21:1-11; Mk 11:1-11; 44; Jn 12:9-11
- From Judah will come the cornerstone….(10:4) Mt 21:42;Eph 2:20
- 30 pieces of silver and “the potter” (11:12-13) Mt 27:9-10 (attributed in Matthew to Jeremiah)
- They will look on me, the one they have pierced (12:10) Jn 19:37
- Allusion: the Good Shepherd, struck down for His sheep (13:7-14:5) Jn 10:1-21
- Jesus’ second coming as Saviour, Judge and King to rule His people from Jerusalem (9:10-14:21). Mt 23: 24:27; 2Thess. 2:8; Phil 1:10 and many others
- Only the Father knows the time of the end. (14:14) Mt 24:36-39; 1Thess 5:2-9
- Living water! (14:8) Jn 4:10, 7:37-39
- One Lord (14:9) Eph 4:5
- Jesus the only Name. (14:9) Acts 4:10
Apply In these difficult times, with opinion, division and uproar on all sides, it is so easy to become discouraged and lose perspective. When we reject what holds us back from being fully His, our hearts softened by His grace, He welcomes and saves. We humbly receive His compassionate forgiveness because we need Him in all circumstances.
Zechariah is a corrective. Let’s hold on for (His) dear life to our sure hope in Jesus, rejecting discouraging news (alternative or mainstream), false prophets, opinions purporting to be ‘my truth’ and thus the only one there is (no discussion allowed). Jesus is the antidote to the times we live in.
Ask Lord, I am discouraged by what I hear, read, watch of “news”. So, I ask for hope-filled words from Your Word, to speak to those without hope. Would You show me, slow learner, that Your Word is woven together beginning to end, You the Weaver, Jesus the thread of hope?
Pray Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Song Psalm 62: My Soul Finds Rest Stuart Townend
Zech. 9:9 : Rejoice Greatly O Daughter of Jerusalem (Handel, Messiah) Regula Muhlmann
Text: Zechariah 5-8
5:1-4 - Vision of a very large flying scroll , representing a curse over the land that will banish the thief and person who swears falsely. The curse will come and destroy the house of such people.
5:5-11 – Vision of a basket with a lead cover. Inside is a woman, who is called, “wickedness”. The basket is flown by two women with wings to Babylon so to make a place for it, where it will belong.
6:1-8 – Vision of 4 chariots coming from between 2 mountains. The horses of each chariot are described as powerful and each is red, black, white and dappled. The angel tells Zechariah that this is a picture of the four spirits of heaven leaving the presence of the Lord and moving north, west and south to go throughout the earth. The chariot in north country gives rest to the land of the north.
The people of Bethel are asking the Lord if they should mourn and fast as in the previous 70 years of exile. The Lord responds through Zechariah asking them if their hearts fasted and mourned for the Lord or for themselves? He reminds them of His requirement that they administer true justice and show mercy and compassion to each other. They need to not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the alien and the poor and not think evil of each other. In the past they refused to pay attention to God and hardened their hearts and ignored the prophets. The result was that the land that had been pleasant was left so desolate that no one could come or go.
The Lord says He is very jealous for Zion and He will return and dwell there in Jerusalem. He describes both old and very young people filling the streets. He says he will be faithful and righteous to them as their God. He tells them to rebuild the temple and says that He will deal with them as He had in the past, describing fruitful vines yielding good harvest. He says He is determined to do good to Jerusalem so they should not be afraid. They are to love truth and peace, and have sound judgment in their courts. The fasts they used to hold are now to be celebrated as festivals. He describes the nations coming to seek the Almighty.
Perhaps Zechariah's visions could demonstrate the big picture desire of God that wicked and unjust living are no longer to be part of Israel's story. Instead, it is the increased carrying out and spreading of His presence in the earth that is on God's heart.
The remnant people of Judah were familiar with Jeremiah’s prophecy that exile would be 70 years. Now that the years have mostly been completed, they are curious and have gathered to inquire of the Lord if they should continue mourning as they had done every year in exile or if this was the time to celebrate because it was the time of their promised restoration. God’s response to their question, “is it time?” was to call them to daily faithfulness in how they live as His people. He reminds them that what He requires is covenant faithfulness and He also encourages them to prioritize making space for Him by rebuilding the temple. He promises His plan is to dwell again in Jerusalem and paints a picture of the fulfilled purpose of the city being a dwelling place for Himself so that all the nations can come to Him. However, He doesn’t directly answer their question about timing. It’s as if God is reminding them of the big picture and asks them to do their part by making a commitment to daily faithful living and to press forward by continuing to work on rebuilding the temple as a direct action to demonstrate their commitment to being His people once again.
With a worldwide pandemic on our hands and many unknown circumstances for the future, we may find many parallels with how the remnant people of Judah were feeling. We may be asking God, “Is this the time of the end? Are you returning soon? Is the tribulation of Revelation soon to be upon us?” Perhaps God has a similar response for us: “Live faithful to me today and don’t lose sight of my ultimate plan to dwell with you and draw all people to myself. Prioritize my presence.”
Lord thank you that we don’t have to have all the answers in order to live faithful to you. Our heart's desire is to be in your presence. Come and be near us in our hearts and minds today.
Holy Spirit by Francesca Battistelli
Bible Blog 2022
This year the blogs are focused on the Psalms and are posted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.