Summary: We may think we will never have enough coming in, but the One who wants us to return to Him is promising us prosperity.
Text: Zechariah 2:1-13
Title: Where There Ain’t Enough Coming In Type: Expository
Purpose: Encourage hearer to see that they will live/are living in God’s great prosperity.
Main Idea: We live/will live in a city without walls.
Opening: Ain’t Enough Coming In. One of my best friends became a DJ at CD101, a popular Columbus radio station, after high school. As a DJ, he had access to all sorts of music; companies sent him promotional CDs of all kinds for free. On one occasion, he sent some of these CDs to me (he just wanted to share the wealth, I guess, or get rid of some junk; I don’t know which). I was in Bible college at the time, two or three years in at least, and out of the blue I got a box in the mail from him containing about ten CDs. They were very strange CDs; they didn’t have all the packaging or artwork a store-bought CD has (they were in paper sleeves), and most of them were marked with a statement claiming that the CD was the property of the music company and must be returned to the music company upon request. One of those CDs was this one right here (show picture). This is a CD by a blues artist named Otis Rush. I didn’t listen to this one. I did see the name of it, though. I saw the name of that CD and I never forgot it. That name, as you can see, is Ain’t Enough Coming In.
Beyond doubt, what Rush is talking about in the name of that CD is resources of some kind. When he says Ain’t Enough Coming In, he means “ain’t enough finances coming in”. He means he doesn’t have and isn’t getting the money he needs to pay his bills, to keep him out of the red/out of debt, to stay afloat. Not only so, but I think he is implying that he will never have or get that money. I think he is implying that there will never be enough coming in for him. The situation he is describing there is the sad and scary situation of not just being poor/broke/impoverished (which is one thing) but being hopelessly poor/broke/impoverished. The state he is describing there is the state of someone who is not only in poverty but has no chance of escaping poverty.
And if we could go back to the time of the postexilic/restoration community, the community of Israelites who had returned to Israel from the Babylonian Exile and were attempting to rebuild it, we would find many of them saying the same thing, expressing the same sentiment, struggling with that same feeling. We would find that many of them apparently thought or believed or felt they were in that same situation or that same state. Many of them apparently thought or believed or felt that there wasn’t enough coming in and never would be enough coming in. Many of them apparently thought or believed or felt that they were not only poor/impoverished but were going to be perpetually poor/impoverished, always poor/impoverished, forever poor/impoverished.
Now the first half of that was true (somewhat true). This postexilic/restoration community was poorer in every way than the nations around them. They were poorer in every way than the Israelites before them (the Israelites of the past). But the second half of that was not true. They were not stuck in perpetual poverty. They were not going to be forever poor/impoverished. God Himself told them that this was not true, that they were not going to be stuck in perpetual poverty/forever poor or impoverished, as He continued His revelation to the prophet Zechariah.
Read Zechariah 2:1-13
When There Ain’t Enough Coming In. That is what the prophet Zechariah is telling us here in Zechariah 2:1-13. That’s what God is telling the prophet Zechariah here (again, as was the case last week, Zechariah was as confused by what he was seeing and hearing as we are, so this is what God is telling the prophet Zechariah here and what He is telling us through the prophet Zechariah here). When there ain’t enough coming in. What to do/what to believe/what to think/what to feel when there ain’t enough coming in (or when it seems like there ain’t enough coming in). Maybe even what not to do/what not to believe/what not to think/what not to feel when there ain’t enough coming in (or when it seems like there ain’t enough coming in).
What we have here in Zechariah 2 is the third of the prophet Zechariah’s eight night visions, the eight visions he received on one special night, February 24th 519 BC, the eight-fold vision which supports his thematic message of returning to God. (Last week we looked at the first two of those visions, the man in the myrtle trees and the four horns, and now we are moving on to the third.) We call it “the man with a measuring line” (that is, a line used for measuring distance; we have measuring tapes today; we even have measuring lasers, I think; but in Zechariah’s place and time they had lines or strings; same principle). Zechariah sees a “man” (really a heavenly being of some sort) who has a measuring line and is going to measure Jerusalem, going to measure it’s width and length. And when he says find out how wide and how long there, what he really means is, “Find out just how small Jerusalem is.” This man is not expecting the measurement to be impressive, to reveal that Jerusalem is large. He is expecting it to be disappointing, to reveal that Jerusalem is small. This man is going out to measure Jerusalem with a negative expectation. I imagine most of us have felt that kind of negative expectation. I know I have. I know I’ve been afraid to check the mail because I wondered what kind of bills were in there and how much they were. I know I’ve heard people tell me they “can’t bear to look” at their income tax forms or check their bank account balance. I even found an article about this: (show picture). That’s “negative expectation”. And that’s how this man was going to measure Jerusalem. He is going out with the expectation of discovering that Jerusalem is small and poor and weak (much smaller and poorer and weaker than it was in the past, much smaller/poorer/weaker than the cities of other nations). He is going out with the expectation of discovering not that there ain’t enough coming in but of discovering just how much there ain’t enough coming in.