Summary: This invitation, this cry of love, and this hope of justice calls to us today. It calls us to respond, to love in return, and to commit our lives to justice until “that day”, when God finally comes and brings complete justice
The End of the Road
Nov 16, 2008 Zech 14
This morning brings us to the end of our journey through the Old Testament book of Zechariah. We’ve been immersing ourselves in the time of God’s people, returned from slavery in Babylon in the 4th and 5th century BC, to find their homes and temple and national identity and religion in ruins, and tasked now with the need to rebuild. We’ve seen how God has come alongside them, with strong and beautiful words of hope and strength and passionate love, calling them to a higher way of life, calling them to not despair, calling them to live out of the covenant God has made with them, calling them to holiness and purpose and hope. And we, too, have heard the same call of God to us, a different people in a different time, yet with so much in common: voices competing for our attention and love; challenges that only God can deal with; a deep need to hear God say “My love for you is passionate and strong!”; hearts that cry out for justice in a broken world; and a deep need for reassurance that God really is in control, that He really is good, and that He really is involved in the lives and concerns of His people.
Last week as we began this last section of Zechariah, we talked about how this is “apocalyptic” literature – a unique type of literature common in the time, where a story is told about a future “day” when a mighty God would fight a terrible battle and be victorious over all and every force of evil, and will then usher in a new day of eternal joy and peace and goodness. And the main point of this type of literature is always to encourage God’s people that the day will come, when all of this struggle and pain and evil, will be decisively dealt with forever. This is still of vital importance to us as Christians – this longing for and belief in a final day when God will fight, win, and restore. In fact, it is one of our seven “Statements of Faith” here at Laurier: “#7: We believe God will bring this age to an end and establish a new heaven and a new earth, in God’s time. Jesus will come again in glory. The dead will be raised, and all will be judged: the unrighteous will be punished and the righteous will be rewarded, both everlasting.”
Now, reading that it is a very “factual”, logical, technical description. When the writers of Scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wanted to communicate the same truth to the people in Zechariah’s day, they did so with far more drama, flare, excitement, imagination, and imagery. Let’s read Zechariah 14.
1 Watch, for the day of the Lord is coming when your possessions will be plundered right in front of you! 2 I will gather all the nations to fight against Jerusalem. The city will be taken, the houses looted, and the women raped. Half the population will be taken into captivity, and the rest will be left among the ruins of the city.
3 Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south. 5 You will flee through this valley, for it will reach across to Azal. Yes, you will flee as you did from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all his holy ones with him.
6 On that day the sources of light will no longer shine, 7 yet there will be continuous day! Only the Lord knows how this could happen. There will be no normal day and night, for at evening time it will still be light.
8 On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean, flowing continuously in both summer and winter.
9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshiped.
10 All the land from Geba, north of Judah, to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become one vast plain. But Jerusalem will be raised up in its original place and will be inhabited all the way from the Benjamin Gate over to the site of the old gate, then to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses. 11 And Jerusalem will be filled, safe at last, never again to be cursed and destroyed.