Sermons

Summary: What could God do with your life?

Who Holds the Future

Aug 17, 2008 Zech 6

Intro:

Would you think with me a moment about your life. Whatever place you are at, whatever your joys or frustrations, your struggles or victories, your dreams and your disappointments. Think about it for a moment, wrap your head around it, imagine how you would answer the honest question from a trusted friend who genuinely asks, “how are you doing? what’s going on in your life?”

Now with that thought clearly and firmly in your mind, let me ask you this: what could God do with that? With your life, as it sits today as a big jumbled mass of good and bad, complex relationships, places of grief and places of celebration – what could God do with your life? What do you expect Him to do, today and in the future?

Zechariah Background:

As we’ve been walking through the Old Testament book of Zechariah, studying the first 5 chapters, we’ve seen God speak to Zechariah through a series of visions. We’ve looked at seven of those visions, today in the first half of chapter 6 we find the eighth and final vision. The visions have been about God’s people rebuilding their nation, specifically their temple, as they have returned from 70yrs of slavery in the northern country of Babylon. The visions are, in a lot of ways, about answering that question that I began with – “what could God do with us?”

Zech 6:1-8 (NIV)

Let’s read the first half of the chapter in the NIV:

1 I looked up again—and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze! 2 The first chariot had red horses, the second black, 3 the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful. 4 I asked the angel who was speaking to me, "What are these, my lord?"

5 The angel answered me, "These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. 6 The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south."

7 When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth. And he said, "Go throughout the earth!" So they went throughout the earth.

8 Then he called to me, "Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north."

Bookend Visions:

Does this vision sound familiar to anyone? Have we seen horses of different colors before, have we seen this idea of “rest” before? Back in June when we started this journey, we saw the very first vision Zechariah had and there are a large number of parallels, and some significant differences. In that first vision the riders have just arrived back from patrolling the earth, the scene is likely at dusk, and they report: “We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at rest” (Zech 1:11, NIV), and as we explored that we discovered that the “rest” was actually a picture of the nations sitting idly by while injustice raged everywhere around them, and the people of God were waiting and needing an upraising to overthrow the oppressors.

Now the horses are back, not just as scouts but now pulling war chariots, and they are “straining to go throughout the earth” and bring God’s justice. Some commentators place the vision at dawn, drawing from the picture of the mountains of bronze, and if so then this last vision ends the period of night which began with the dusk in the first vision, and it wraps the series of visions up with the unleashing of the chariots of God that bring justice to the world.

Aside from the spiritual truth, which we’ll come to in just a moment, there is a great literary beauty in this as well. This first half of Zechariah is bookended by these two visions, it is beautifully constructed, and what is begun in the first with the patrols is now completed in the eighth with the unleashing of the armies.

The spiritual truth we find in the result of the sending of the horses, reported to us in vs. 8: “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.”. The false “rest” that the nations enjoyed in vision 1 is now contrasted with the “rest” that the Spirit of God has achieved. The “north” is specifically mentioned, and the Jews would have immediately known that this was Babylon and that the vision had a very clear meaning – God has taken care of it. He promised that He would deal with those who had taken His people into slavery, that His Spirit which had been troubled by the treatment of His people is now satisfied, God has done what He had promised, and it is finished.

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