The lamp becomes a flicker
One theme that runs though the of testament is the live of David, Jesus’ line. In kings it is called the lamp of Judah.
It’s a very slow and often frail salvation plan, and here it comes down to just one hidden boy.
Last chapter king Jehu of Israel – not a godly man, but the means of judgment – aggressively usurped and stamped out evil king Ahab’s line. He missed his daughter who was mother in law of the king of Judah. When her son the king is killed she rules herself for a number of years and keeps power by mercilessly killing the heirs of David, some of her own grandchildren.
One boy is hidden in the temple by a wise and bold woman Jehosheba the wife of the priest . It’s sort of a tale of two women.
After 7 years the priest and other godly people run a coup that installs the boy as king. It’s a great story.
The lamp flickers but doesn’t go out. A new leaf is turned over.
When Jesus talks about faith the size of a grain of mustard I think of this woman’s act. Grace pops out all over in these stories – when the kings are worst, the most blessed prophets arise. In a forest of evil, a good person plants one seed of salvation against all odds. Never give up hope on what is right, never.
These two chapters, 12 & 13, concern the day of the Lord. Which will be a remarkable day.
It will be a day when enemies besiege the Lord, and he showed not just his strength but his omnipotence and his character. He is the one who made the world and formed our spirit within us, vast in power, intimate in knowledge.
On that day…. The statement clangs though the passage like a bell.
… Everyone will know that God is behind Jerusalem, so resistance is futile,
… Enemies will be vanquished, the weakest of the Jews will seem as blessed and strong as king David
… Jerusalem themselves will weep as no nation has wept before, because they will lose their pride and mourn for God “the one they pierced”.
Yes it’s gone messianic again. The Jews are the most favored nation, so the envy and the stumbling block of the world, but also the ones who let god down the most, so the most miserably aware of their sin and the magnitude of God’s grace.
Now it is the day of the Lord, and I am one of God’s people. I am among the favored, most aware of God’s grace and how little I deserve it, a stumbling block to the world.
A mighty prophesy of things in the near and far future. This has some predictable and surprising elements.
It’s a picture of God as king with lightning bolts and glory. A picture of him saving and preserving Israel, but also the surrounding nations, even as they are condemned and put though a similar winnowing process as Israel has been though in the exile to Babylon.
There is a prediction of the relationship with Greece, both battles and help, which came true in the period between the testaments.
The messianic prediction are striking: a king coming in a donkey, establishing a rule to the ends of the earth. And the Jews will always have a special place, shining young and beautiful like jewels in God’s crown.
It’s all piled in there, I don’t really understand it, but I know it’s truth, the king Messiah is the one I worship.
Feeling a bit sad and frustrated this week. All this glory, but my family feels like it’s in pain. I feel like I should use my strength to help the weak, but not sure how.
Yes I need to pray now.
Apparently the visions are coming to an end, I’ll miss them.
Today we have a vision of four horsemen fanning out from God across the world. They are of different colors but we aren’t told what the colors mean. Of course four horsemen turn up in Revelation to announce the end times. Commentators talk about tribulation and judgement from these horses, and I’m not saying they are wrong, but it’s not explicit in the passage. To me its enough that its about god’s control and presence across the world.
These visions are working to encourage the newly returned Jews in Jerusalem, but not allowing a limited geographical view of God, it keeps expanding beyond the walls.
Ditto the vision of Joshua crowned as priest and king. It’s literally promising god’s blessing of a revitalised temple worship, but reaching way bigger to messianic proportions. The two trees spoken of yesterday are linked to the vision of one person, the branch, who brings harmony between the two, and will be clothed in Majesty and glory. It’s the Messiah, seen as he is for eternity, in his glorious heavenly state, not the humble man Jesus who we will meet later when he comes to earth.
Zechariah is loaded with vivid visions. And they are all about grace.
Here the high priest, a literal person called Joshua, stands before the Lord. His clothes are filthy and Satan stands at his right side to accuse him of sin.
But before anything can happen the angel of the Lord put clean clothes on him. Pops a clean turban in his head (loved visualising that). Apparently it is a distinct priestly garment. In case you missed the symbolism, the angel declares that the clean clothes are the removal of sin.
The passage is rich with meaning as a prophesy of Jesus. I like the stick theme… Israel was about to burn up all together to ashes in the fire but God grabbed it out. The priest is made clean by God, the nation is.
But these men, the priests are but symbols of greater salvation god will send. His servant the branch, and the rock with 7 eyes (implies omnipotence) will remove the sin of the nation in one day. Ends with a verse of peace and abundance, neighbours sitting together under fig and vines trees.
What a ride.
I keep being surprised how the bible hangs together. You get so used to the lazy talk of the “god of the old testament” you expect to be alienated by it. So much grace here, such love and peace. So much Messiah, Jesus is there.