Tuesday

08 September 2015

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord.” (v. 10)

Psalm: Psalm 127


Background

The crisis which provides the context for today's passage is equally climactic in biblical history when compared with the flood story. The book, and prophecy, of Zechariah is addressed to the people who will be returning from exile inBabylon. The exile to Babylon from Jerusalem (586 BC) was a traumatic period of not just conquest and capture but of doubt, depression and despair, as Psalm 137 describes, "By the rivers of Babylon - there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion" (Psalm 137:1).

Yet, there is hope. Zechariah tells the people to "sing and rejoice", and he repeats this in Zechariah 9:9, the words there providing the inspiration for Handel in "Messiah" ("Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion"). As with Noah in yesterday's passage, things are about to change, but not just for the 'chosen people'. Just as biblical stories of creation and judgement are universal, so too are promises and hopes of salvation and reconstruction. Ultimate reconstruction, not just of a city or a building, eg Jerusalem or the temple, is built on God, hence God says, 'I will come and dwell in your midst".

'The day of the Lord', when God will appear to resolve everything, is the Old Testament version of the 'second coming', it is an apocalyptic event. But God does not appear in judgement - "many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and shall be my people" (v. 11). It's an encouraging prospect that the arrival of God brings reconciliation, not judgement.


To Ponder

  • How inspiring do you find Handel's Messiah? How might it be illustrative in Bible study groups?
  • How do you react to the tension between God coming with salvation and judgement?


Bible notes author: Julian Bond

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