3. A Picture of the Future
God’s people must serve Him with a picture of the end in mind.
”1 And I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand! 2 Then I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.” 3 And behold, the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him 4 and said to him, “Run, say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it.5 And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst.’” 6 Up! Up! Flee from the land of the north, declares the Lord. For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, declares the Lord. 7 Up! Escape to Zion, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. 8 For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye: 9 “Behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me. 10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. 11 And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 12 And the Lordwill inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.” 13 Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”– Zechariah 2:1-12
I. A Picture of a Vast People vv 1-5
II. A Picture of a Called People vv 7-9
III. A Picture of a Joyful People vv 10-13
Quick Thought: How to Get to Exile
Our text in Zechariah, indeed the entire book, deals with the theme of God’s people from exile. But why were they in exile in the first place? The prophets offer three primary reasons:
Injustice was both a cause and symptom of the nation’s demise. Within the framework of the Mosaic covenant, it is a serious offense because justice was not incidental to God’s purposes. His desire at Sinai was that Israel should be a nation of justice and equity, where the principles of sufficiency and equality (as expressed in the giving of manna) would prevail because “there will be no poor‖” (Deuteronomy 15:4). But as God looked at his people, “He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry!” (Isaiah 5:7). The poor were being exploited, and Israel’s courts were places where oppressive laws were passed and iniquitous decrees issued (Isaiah 10:1). The poor were getting poorer and the rich richer, and although God had stipulated a nation of small tenant farmers, “the rich were joining house to house and adding field to field until there was no more room.” (Isaiah 5:8)
Part of Israel’s distinctiveness was to be her reliance on Yahweh, rather than on armies: as the psalmist commands, “Be still, and know that I am God.! (Psalm 46:10) The psalmist calls Israel to stop fighting and to allow God to demonstrate his supremacy through Israel’s weakness. But Israel felt vulnerable. They wanted a king of flesh and blood to lead them into battle, because they wanted to be like the surrounding nations (Isaiah 30:1-2; 31:1; Micah 5:10-11).
3. Impure worship
Despite their religious observance and spiritual activities, Israel’s lives individually and corporately knew nothing of the radical, visible holiness they had been called (Isaiah 58:2). Fasting was far more significant than a day or two without food (Isaiah 58:6-7). In short, they had forgotten what it was to trust God and to live their lives before him. The rampant idolatry prior to the Exile was an expression of this. These other gods were lawless, but the God of Israel demanded worship expressed in changed lives and transformed communities.