Summary: Peace is not enough, God also wants justice and righteousness
By David Bassett
As Christians we hold to the idea that God is a sovereign God.
This is seen in the hymns and songs we sing.
Lines such as
God is working his purpose out as years …..
Praise to the Lord the almighty the king of creation.
Jesus shall reign where ever the sun
Reign in me sovereign Lord, reign in me
and the list goes on.
Yet, there are times when we doubt the sovereignty of God. There are times when we struggle with the concept that God is in control and His purposes will prevail.
And, when you talk with other people, non believers, they can present a list of situations with a question for each one – Where is your God?
And yet in the bible we are constantly reminded of God’s sovereignty and God’s reign and God’s love. The story of the Jews is a story that displays God’s rule and his purpose and his love.
And if you were asked to describe the way God loves His people what adjective would you use?
Dearly – too week
Fully – a bit better
Zealously – now that’s getting better
I’m not sure how that would sound in today’s lingo
Awesomely, Wickedly, Filth-ely. (It depends on your age!)
As we begin to look at the night visions of Zechariah we encounter the zealous love of God for his covenant people.
A zeal that leads God to say "I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. I am extremely angry with the nations"
The visions portrayed in Zechariah are really a single unit. And together disclose the plan of God for the future of Jerusalem and Judah.
They follow a similar pattern:
A description of what the prophet sees
A question to the angel as to the meaning of what he sees
An explanation from the angel
- Four of the visions are then followed by an oracle
In the first vision Zechariah sees the reporting to the angel of the Lord from the horsemen who patrol the earth.
Here in the figure of the angel of the Lord we have a pre-incarnation appearance of Christ.
A hint of the full purpose of God to dwell with his people. For it will be in Christ’s incarnation, becoming human, that God will fully dwell with humanity.
But here, the patrollers report to the Lord that there is peace in the world. Now that sounds like good news.
The bad news is that this peace is forced and is unjust and inhumane.
It is not God’s peace.
It is a peace that is forced upon people by oppressors and dictators.
A situation we are all too familiar with as we look around our world.
As we look at our neighbours in East Timor.
As we look at those in our society who are under the poverty line, or the homeless, the dispossessed, the racial minorities in many countries.
This is what some people will raise as the question "where is your God?"
This is not God’s peace.
This is not God’s justice.
This is not God’s purpose.
And now we see the first purpose of God for the new Judah. Look at verses 14 – 17
14 So the angel who talked with me said to me, Proclaim this message: Thus says the LORD of hosts; I am very jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. 15 And I am extremely angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they made the disaster worse. 16 Therefore, thus says the LORD, I have returned to Jerusalem with compassion; my house shall be built in it, says the LORD of hosts, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. 17 Proclaim further: Thus says the LORD of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity; the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.
The anger of God, which we saw last week directed at the ancestors is now directed at the enemies of Judah.
Those who had kept her in exile.
Those who try in vain to fraught the sovereign plan of God.
And instead of with anger, God has returned to Jerusalem with compassion.
And here we see a promise of God. My house shall be built.
And although it will not be for another 80 years till the walls around Jerusalem will be finished , the measuring line will stretch out - a message of hope and encouragement.
The compassion of God - To restore the glory of Jerusalem.
And what is the ultimate glory of Jerusalem?
It is the dwelling place of God.
It is the focus of the nations.
It is the meeting place with God.
The second vision is straightforward in its image and message.