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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beware of Flying Scrolls..(Zechariah)

I remember once in college, my theology professor teaching a class he called, "there's nothing new under the sun." His point was that very little had changed in the way people did evil, rejected God, and treated one another. Fortunately, he also affirmed that very little had changed in the way God loved the world, redeemed situations for good, and led people into His will.

I offer this idea against the back-drop of our current culture. Marketers work very hard to convince us all that there is indeed very much new under the sun- and we must have it! This obsession with the new can make the Bible feel very foreign and rigid. Honestly, I think we are unaccustomed to speaking the language.

Thus enters the book of Zechariah. For those of us who are more familiar with the territory of the New Testament, Zechariah prepares us to understand the Kingdom vision of God. In particular, the apocalyptic vision of Revelation draws more heavily on Zechariah than any other Old Testament book. Revelation can seem like a foriegn land, until we realize that flying scrolls, evil represented by a woman, the four horsemen, and vision of lamp stands all appear in Zechariah. Like Revelation would do hundred's of year later, Zechariah gives us pictures and images to understand a spiritual world that often lies beyond our senses.

I think the message here is to a group of beleaguered souls returning from exile. They return to a Jerusalem unlike anything they have imagined or seen, and the whole world seems to have changed. The walls are gone, the temple smashed, and evil seems to have its way. But in Zechariah, God calls out a reminder, "I am the same, and there's nothing new under the sun." In this book, we find that failing to listen to God brings judgment, but God's love is relentless. We hear that God still has plans for Jerusalem and her people. We see a God who promises to inhabit His temple and His city once more. And he promises blessing on all who walk closely with Him. Similar story and promises as we find throughout Scripture, but delivered to a new generation of people.

We live in worlds that often seem unfamiliar. Jobs, families or routines can be uprooted and changed seemingly overnight. But God is our constant. And we can depend on the one who has promised that He himself will be our protecting wall.

May the steadfastness of God's plan and God's love hold you on the journey today,

Nick

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