Thursday 08 September 2016

Bible Book:

“I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you.” (v. 11)

Zechariah 2:10-13 Thursday 8 September 2016

Psalm: Psalm 127


It is not immediately clear how today's passage relates to ourtheme of wisdom and knowledge, except in the chosen text, whichtalks of knowing, ie having assurance, that Zechariah's message wasfrom God. However, as we have no indication that God re-establisheda dwelling among the people (ie the return of the shekinah glory tothe reconstructed temple), or of many nations giving allegiance, wedo not know, based on Zechariah's statement, that the Lord did sendhim. This is a common issue with prophecy, unless it isfulfilled/being fulfilled at the time of writing or previously.

This is not the only example of a proof statement in the Bible,and the classic text on this subject has the same message - "If aprophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the thing does not takeplace or prove true, it is a word that the Lord has not spoken. Theprophet has spoken it presumptuously" (Deuteronomy 18:22). This wasa concern for public, prophetic utterances, whether it applies towriting prophets is another question.

Our challenge might be not to read Scripture in such a way thatwe have any attachment to proofs, as this is not the purpose ofScripture, though it may give us that sense. In fact a wise way ofreading would be to accept that we are not going to get any proof,particularly when its message is about hope, as hope isunpredictable (literally). If we do this then we will placeappropriate limits on expectation: we rightly have concerns aboutsome kinds of extremism, because they go too far.

Where does this leave us with Zechariah (and Malachi, with thatfamous line that appears in The Messiah, "The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to histemple", (Malachi 3:1))? The Day of the Lord wasapocalyptic expectation (yes, apocalyptic always goes too far!),never realised, though creatively 'fulfilled' perhaps, as TheMessiah suggests, in Christian readings, based again on propheticwritings, yet certainly not as expected. Fortunately we do not seekproof in Scripture, and our wise course of action is to listen toit.

To Ponder

  • How do you handle proof statements in the Bible?
  • What do you do with books like Zechariah in your reading andunderstanding of the Bible?
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