Summary: God is “on the move”. The “LORD of Heaven’s Armies” wants His message shouted out loud, a message that says “My love is passionate and strong.”
A Warrior’s Love
July 13, 2008 Zechariah 1:7-21
Our view of ourselves and the world around us is, by necessity, quite limited. We are finite creatures, what we know comes from what we have seen and heard, from the things we have been exposed to, from the choices we make about what we will watch or read or listen to. And yet, we have been adopted by the God of the Universe – we have been welcomed into a new, different, spiritual Kingdom as full citizens. And we are aware that there is so much more to our existence than only those things that we can perceive – there is an entire spiritual world, of which we also are a part, yet which are not always tangibly aware.
So, then, it should not surprise us when some of our experiences with God, who is Spirit, are a little strange – unusual – some might use the word “weird”. Two weeks ago we heard Mike Duff’s testimony of a bat coming and landing on his arm while he was asking questions about whether God was real, and how he wasn’t afraid, and in that moment Mike knew God was real and he wanted to spend his life serving God. We hear other stories, and in many of them we smile and say “some people might call it coincidence, but we know that is God.” Sometimes people hear strange words – once I was at a conference, and some people with some prophetic gifts were praying for me and one of them asked me, does the word “Bellamy” mean anything to you? I said, “um, no.” But then as I drove home that day past a jazz club a block from my house, the sign said “performing tonight: DC Bellamy”. So I went, listened to some great blues, and afterwards met the artist and shared this story with him, and we talked about God and faith for about half an hour.
Other people, including Zechariah, the author of the book we are studying, see visions. This is fairly common in our Bible, there was even a name for this group of people – they were called “seers”. We have the written record of these visions – words describing pictures, with all the limitations that entails. So as we read them we have to use our imaginations to try to envision, re-imagine, re-create in our minds the description we have. I need you to do that as we read Zechariah’s first two visions.
7 Three months later, on February 15, the Lord sent another message to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah and grandson of Iddo.
8 In a vision during the night, I saw a man sitting on a red horse that was standing among some myrtle trees in a small valley. Behind him were riders on red, brown, and white horses. 9 I asked the angel who was talking with me, “My lord, what do these horses mean?” “I will show you,” the angel replied. 10 The rider standing among the myrtle trees then explained, “They are the ones the Lord has sent out to patrol the earth.” 11 Then the other riders reported to the angel of the Lord, who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have been patrolling the earth, and the whole earth is at peace.”
12 Upon hearing this, the angel of the Lord prayed this prayer: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, for seventy years now you have been angry with Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. How long until you again show mercy to them?” 13 And the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me. 14 Then the angel said to me, “Shout this message for all to hear: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Jerusalem and Mount Zion is passionate and strong. 15 But I am very angry with the other nations that are now enjoying peace and security. I was only a little angry with my people, but the nations inflicted harm on them far beyond my intentions. 16 “‘Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I have returned to show mercy to Jerusalem. My Temple will be rebuilt, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and measurements will be taken for the reconstruction of Jerusalem.’ 17 “Say this also: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The towns of Israel will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem as his own.’”
18 Then I looked up and saw four animal horns. 19 “What are these?” I asked the angel who was talking with me. He replied, “These horns represent the nations that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” 20 Then the Lord showed me four blacksmiths. 21 “What are these men coming to do?” I asked. The angel replied, “These four horns—these nations—scattered and humbled Judah. Now these blacksmiths have come to terrify those nations and throw them down and destroy them.”