Russell and Duenes

God Will Again Choose His People

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“The LORD was very angry with your fathers.” (Zech.1:2). God was not just “angry” with them, but “very angry.” I imagine that when the Lord of the armies of heaven, the Lord of “water, earth and sky,” the Lord of all that is or ever will be, is very angry with you, you’re in about the worst place you can be.

Yet what does God say to His people? Get out of my sight forever? Away with you? No, rather, He said: “Return to me . . . return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.” Zechariah gives us a unique window into the gracious heart of God for His people. The angel of the LORD asks: “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” (1:12). The people of Jerusalem and Judah had rebelled against God for so many centuries that He sent them into exile, to the wicked city of Babylon, for 70 years. Now they were returning to Jerusalem, God’s beloved “city of the Great King.”

The Lord’s response is given in “gracious words, comforting words.” (1:13). God says, “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion . . . I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it . . . and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.” (1:15). God goes further: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.'” (1:17). Indeed, God appoints figurative “craftsmen” to “terrify” and “throw down the horns of the nations who have lifted up their horns against the Land of Judah in order to scatter it.” (1:21). Thus, we see the fervency and strength of God’s love for His people. Yet He’s not through.

God says that “Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it.” How so? The Lord “will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.” So God’s love for His beloved is expansive, fruit-producing, and protective. God says of His people: “He who touches you, touches the pupil of His eye.” (2:8). God is coming to His people, and He “will dwell in your midst.” (2:10). Moreover, “the LORD will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.” (1:12). The greatest treasure of all will be had by God’s people, namely, that God will love them, possess them, make them His holy delight and portion, and remain with them. This points to our Lord Jesus, the One named “Immanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” (Matt. 1:23). What’s even more delightful is that “many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day and will become My people.” (2:11). God’s grace overflows from His beloved Israel even to the nations.

After a detour into various visions, God returns to His theme: “I am exceedingly jealous for Zion, yes, with great wrath I am jealous for her,” . . . “I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.” (8:2-3). What will God’s love for Jerusalem look like? The elderly will sit in Jerusalem’s streets, I assume, enjoying each others’ company. Children will be playing in the streets, and people will live in the Holy City, “and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.” (8:4-8).

God will make the land fruitful for His people: “the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things.” (8:12). God “has purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear!” (8:15). Jerusalem will be so blessed by God that “many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.” (8:22). And what is the pinnacle of God’s love for His beloved?

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (9:9). “And the LORD their God will save them in that day as the flock of His people; for they are as stones of a crown, sparkling in His land. For what comeliness and beauty will be theirs! Grain will make the young men flourish, and new wine the virgins.” (9:16-17). God’s people will be “as though I had not rejected them.” (10:6). God will “in that day . . . defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them.” (12:8). God will rescue Jerusalem, “people will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.” (14:11).

This picture of God’s unfailing love is so vivid and so heartening for sinners like me who wish to come to God. It reminds me that, though I was alienated and estranged from God, was His enemy, rightly falling under God’s wrath, God “has now reconciled” me to Himself through the death of Christ, to present me “holy and blameless and unreprovable in His sight.” (Col. 1:20-22). To yearn for this love all the more, yes, that is life indeed. “Oh, the deep, deep love of Jesus; vast, unmeasured, boundless, free; rolling as a mighty ocean, in its fulness over me.”

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

July 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm

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