Thursday 10 December 2015

Bible Book:

"Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favour of the Lord." (v. 22)

Zechariah 8:20-23 Thursday 10 December 2015

Psalm: Psalm 143:1-11


Zechariah was both a prophet and a priest. He lived and wrotewhen Jews were returning to Judah and Jerusalem having been exiledby the Babylonians. As part of the conquest by the BabylonianEmpire the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed (in 586BC), and nowZechariah is keen for it to be rebuilt.

Yesterday's passage (Zechariah 8:1-8)describes what the rebuilt Jerusalem will look and feel like. Andnow today's verses show how attractive the new city will be toothers.

Tourism and sightseeing are big business these days.International travel is easy and relatively cheap. Pictures areposted on social media from friends on their latest trip. You don'teven to wait until they return to see the photos. When we visitanother city or country, we follow the tourist travel trailvisiting the sights and sites, and may even sample the dishes in alocal restaurant. But how much do we experience what life is likethere?

Zechariah prophesies that people from many cities will come "toseek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favour ofthe Lord". They are not spectators, but want to experience all thatJerusalem, including the temple and the Lord has to offer.

The best adverts for the new city seem to be the inhabitantsthemselves. Verse 23 speaks about people taking hold of a Jew andasking to go with them, "for we have heard that God is with you".This picks up a recurring theme in Zechariah and other prophets, ofGentiles seeking the Lord (Zechariah 2:11; also Isaiah4:2-4; Micah 4:1-5). However, the final irony is thatthe temple is segregated and the non-Jews can only go so far.

But with Jesus all barriers between Jews and Gentiles werebroken down and God is the God of all.

To Ponder

  • "I want to experience all that the Christian faith offers." Ifsomeone said that to you, what experiences would you think of? Andif you chose to miss out anything, why would do that?
  • What is it in your life and behaviour that might make otherpeople identify that God is with you?
  • In the temple in Jerusalem, Gentiles could only progress sofar. At a time when the talk is about welcoming refugees (or not)and Donald Trump is suggesting that Muslims should be banned fromentering the United States, how far should we welcome others?


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