Summary: It begins with God, who created. Humanity, who rebelled. Jesus, who came. And us, who respond with repentance. And then we live lives of hope – hope that “our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.
The Day Will Come
Zech 12-13 Nov 9, 2008
"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.
When everything is hard, when we are in pain, when our feelings are hurt, when we face uncertainty and struggle and opposition and confusion and separation and loss and even our own death, there is one thing that is critical to hold on to – and that is hope. Hope that we will make it through, hope that relief will come, hope for healing and restoration, hope that though things are difficult now, tomorrow will be a new day and on that day relief will come. It is a hope that we as Christians have extended to us even through the end of our physical lives – a hope of life anew, without sickness or death or sin.
As Christians, we have another hope alongside the hope of eternity – we have the hope that God will fight, and defeat, all the forces of evil that bring so much pain into our existence. We have this hope of a cosmic battle and victorious God, who will someday finally crush everything that is wrong and painful and replace it with a new and perfect creation, which we will then enjoy.
On this point, the hope that God will, in His own time and in His own way, finally be completely victorious, the Bible is incredibly clear. But we often haven’t seen it. And there is a very understandable reason for that – we haven’t understood the type of thing we are reading when we read about these things in the Bible. The best example is the book of Revelation, but it is not the only example. Zech 12-14 is similar. But as some of us are wondering how that could be, that we could read something without understanding the type of thing we are reading and so not see the point, so let me share a quick example. This was in a pile of junk mail at home:
“Mess Magnets”. I assume it is talking about the paper towels and not the child, though there might be more truth if it was referring to the child, but I digress… Here is my point: we instantly recognize this as an advertisement. We know its purpose – to get us to buy their product. So we don’t believe that spilled milk will actually suddenly become metallic, that paper towel will become magnetic, and that the force of the magnet-towel will overcome the pull of gravity and suck the now-metallic-milk through the air and into the paper towel, without ever making a mess on our table.
Carry that point over to Scripture, and specifically to Zech 12-13 which we study this morning. We are about to read a portion of Scripture which, like the book of Revelation, is a specific type of literature with a specific point. The name is “apocalyptic” literature, and more important than that is its purpose: to bring hope to God’s people who are facing difficulty – the hope that comes from knowing that “God wins”. Those two words are the most important thing to know when reading any kind of apocalyptic literature: “God wins”.
1 This message concerning the fate of Israel came from the Lord: “This message is from the Lord, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and formed the human spirit. 2 I will make Jerusalem like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to besiege Jerusalem and Judah. 3 On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves.
4 “On that day,” says the Lord, “I will cause every horse to panic and every rider to lose his nerve. I will watch over the people of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of their enemies. 5 And the clans of Judah will say to themselves, ‘The people of Jerusalem have found strength in the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, their God.’
6 “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a flame that sets a woodpile ablaze or like a burning torch among sheaves of grain. They will burn up all the neighboring nations right and left, while the people living in Jerusalem remain secure.
7 “The Lord will give victory to the rest of Judah first, before Jerusalem, so that the people of Jerusalem and the royal line of David will not have greater honor than the rest of Judah. 8 On that day the Lord will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as King David! And the royal descendants will be like God, like the angel of the Lord who goes before them! 9 For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.