Monday

10 December 2018

Zechariah 2:1-5, 10-11

’For I will be a wall of fire all round it,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will be the glory within it.’ (v 5)

Psalm: Psalm 44

Background

Our readings for the next three days come from the prophet Zechariah. He was, most likely, a member of a priestly family. He was born in Babylon and was, therefore, from the community of Jews who had been exiled from Jerusalem when it was captured by the Babylonians in 586 BC. But, by the time of Zechariah, the Babylonian Empire had itself fallen to the Persian Empire, and now, two generations after the original fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple, the opportunity had come to return and rebuild.

But what sort of city should be built? Our passage today starts with a vision of a man with a measuring line. His purpose was to work out how much space was needed for the present population and then, no doubt, to build a protective wall around that space to keep any future invaders out. However, says a second angel, his approach is wrong for two reasons and so he needs to think again.

The first reason for a new think is that he has underestimated what God is doing in bringing his people back to Jerusalem. More will come than he has allowed for. God’s promise in restoring his people is more wide-ranging and fuller than our limited vision.

The second reason for re-assessment is that building walls round the city is not a priority and won’t be needed. God himself will protect his people. There is perhaps the hint, albeit unspoken, that the priority for construction should be the Temple. What is clear is that, in this new city, God’s presence is to be fully known and experienced, and this will make all the difference.

 

To Ponder:

  • Where have you seen that God has been at work, doing things on a far larger scale than you had imagined?
  • Our hymn today is 'Be thou my vision'. The Irish word translated as ‘vision’ can also mean ‘battle frenzy’, or just ‘that which energises me’. How does God energise you?

Bible notes author

The Revd Donald Ker

Donald Ker is a supernumerary minister in the Methodist Church in Ireland. He has served as a circuit minister, as a university chaplain, as Senior Tutor in Edgehill Theological College and as Superintendent Minister at Belfast Central Mission. Donald has been General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Ireland and its President in 2009/2010.

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