THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH

God Will Do What God Will Do Zechariah 2

2/20/11 SCC

 

INTRODUCTION

                We should never assume that what we do for the Lord is valuable. It may be but unless the Lord has clearly told us so, we can only hope that what we do is useful for the Kingdom. For instance, you may decide to build a building or take a trip or join a team all of which in one way or another wants to be used to further the work of God’s Kingdom. You have no way of knowing that unless God has said that is valuable for use in what it is He is doing. He may use it but then he may usurp it or replace it with something consistent with his use. For the young man in Zechariah 2 this was the case. Interested in a re-measurement of Jerusalem in order to reestablish the ancient boundary lines, Zechariah receives a vision well beyond the intention of this current re-measurement. Instead these lines are only preparatory for the city’s full reoccupation not just in his time but one in which there will be such a vast population that these measured walls will become inadequate to contain it. The point is that God will do what God will do! We can participate in it with our meager efforts and plans and ideas but they are only valuable when and if they are consistent with what God is doing at any time.

 

GODS PLANS CAN INCLUDE USING OUR WORK BUT EXCEEDING THAT WORK 1-5

 

1. A Surveyor 1-2

                Here is a man with a measuring line in his hand. This is in actuality a surveyor’s line. What Zechariah sees is what Jeremiah saw as well. Jeremiah had anticipated the day before the fall of Jerusalem when the Babylonian exile would be over and the land could be reclaimed (32:6-15). He had redeemed his uncle’s property against that very day yet in the future when completely confident in God’s promise he saw the land once again filled with houses, fields and vineyards. Specifically this surveyor is measuring Jerusalem by breadth and length v 2, possibly because of the orientation of the city.

 

2. A Prophecy 3-5

                Another angel comes out to meet the revealing angel and said ‘hurry and speak to that young man’. This young man could be Zechariah or the man with the measuring line. In any case the message must be conveyed immediately. Urgently run to Zechariah with a message. This must mean that what is about to happen is imminent. Don’t be slow to hear it or act upon it. The specific message is that Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls v 4. The reason is because of the multitude of men and cattle within it. In other words a reoccupation of Jerusalem by such a vast population will make the walls being measured inadequate. The Jerusalem in Zechariah’s day may have had walls or partially rebuilt walls that needed to be finished.  What seems clear at least, is that these walls were not sufficient to provide protection for the city. The peril of life in un-walled settlements was well known in ancient times.

 

                Yet the time will come when there will be no need of walls to protect the great population of the city for God Himself will be a wall of fire and a source of glory v 5 in the midst of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 38:10-13 prophecies of the nations security despite the absence of material fortification. When the enemies of Israel advance upon them. God will send fire against them (39:6) resulting in His holy name being made known in the midst of Israel (39:7). Think about this same concept of fire and glory in the Exodus from Egypt with a pillar of fire associated with God’s glory (Ex 13:21). The point is that God’s plans for Jerusalem far outstrip the measuring work this surveyor is doing.

 

SIGNIFICANCE:

                Don’t think that what you may be doing for God is all that God is doing. Whatever earthy things we build today, even good things, they will be replaced by the work of God. We can and should participate with that work by our plans to obey and follow Christ. We can offer our meager gifts and find ways to channel our resources for the kingdom of God. But don’t limit your plans by figuring out what God is going to do with them. Offer them. Use them. Give them. Plan them. But God will do what God will do with them only that which is consistent with His plans for them.

 

GOD’S PLANS INCLUDE A FUTURE FOR ISRAEL 6-13

 

1. A Warning to Babylon 6-9

                Here we have an oracle—advice or prophecy form a prophet—with a twofold thrust. The first is a warning to Babylon. The second is a promised blessing to Judah. In both cases the message is addressed directly to Judah v 7 and v 10. The first instance to Judah as exiled and then Judah as restored. The northland in v 6 is described as Babylon in v 7.

                (a). This oracle is prophetic about the future and the call then is for the dispersed Jews to flee and escape the land of the north at that time. It is that great scattering to come that is the subject here. The scattering by the Babylonian exile is only an example of this latter scattering of Jews all over the globe. We now know that this was fulfilled most likely after Rome destroyed Jerusalem. This diaspora is universal in scope not just local. The point is that there will be an escape from this worldwide dispersion in God’s future plan for his people. The command to His people then is to flee and escape in that day from the north and from Babylon.

 

                (b). The reason for the double command to escape and flee is for the people’s good and God’s glory v 8-9. The overriding reason is that they might know that God of Hosts has sent one to deliver them v 9. The idea is that the prophet has been sent in order to restore and magnify the glory of God v 8. But the nations who hear this oracle will also know that they will be plundered by the one they plundered—the nation of Israel v 8. God will shake his fist over them v 9 and these nations who plundered Zion will become a plunder of their previous slaves. All of this is because Israel having God’s eye upon them were stricken and plundered by these nations. This reminds us of the promise to Abraham in Gen 12:3 “I will bless them that bless you, but him who curses you I will curse.” Apparently this pledge has never been abrogated and was even in force with respect to this postexilic community of Judah. Zechariah concludes that when all of this happens yet in the future that his credentials will be validated by God’s faithfulness to His Word v 9. They will know then that God has sent him.

 

                This is a decision God has made. He is going to disperse Israel’s enemies. They will be scattered as Israel has been scattered. The sequence is after Christ’s glorification after his first coming, God the Father sends Christ after the nations who have plundered Israel at his second coming. Because those nations have plundered the nation God has His eye on, then it will be as if Christ simply waves His hand over them making them plunder for their own slaves, serving their own slaves. The Messiah’s return will change everything for Israel and the nations.

 

2. Blessing to Judah 10-13

                Now the prophet turns from warning to blessing. There can be no blessing for Israel until their enemies have been defeated. From the ‘daughters of Babylon’ to the ‘daughters of Zion’ the emphasis shifts toward God’s relationship with His people as Father. What is their response to their redemption? It is the ringing cry of joy v 10. It means an indescribable joy. God will once again be near His people as the Messiah cokes and delivers and protects his people. This was a distinguishing feature of the nation—their God was immanent and near as opposed to the aloofness of the gods of the surrounding nations. He lives among His people and resides with them on earth where they can approach him. It is what is called the ‘theology of presence’. God made a covenant with Israel and desired to be among His people, particularly in a temple. In the NT we learn that God became flesh and dwelled among us.

 

                But this expands to a universal dominion in v 11. Jeremiah even says that Israel’s repentance will make possible their blessing of the nations (4:10-2). Zechariah says that in that day God will be king over the whole earth (14:9). For a second time Zechariah ensures that people will know God has sent Him and that his message is one of a true prophet because of the fulfillment of His word v 11.

 

                We also learn that in that day God will take up special residence in the land of Judah v 12. Many nations will join themselves to the Messiah and will become the people of God by relating to Israel. Christ will also dwell in the midst of the Jews and they will know God the Father sent the Messiah. The Messiah will possess the Jews in the land—there is no separation between the Jews and the land. All of the nations will be His but the very heart of the nations will be Judah and the holy city. So the scope of Messiah rule narrows from the whole earth to the Jerusalem Temple and this should have given motivation for the se exiles to undertake Temple reconstruction as precondition to this future plan.

 

                The oracle concludes in v 13 for all humanity to be silent at this point. This land is holy v 12 because God makes it so coming form his holy habitation v 13. From this heavenly realm he will come to his earthly home in demonstration of His power that no human can match. Once God is aroused it will happen! For now you can build these walls but there is a future Jerusalem that will have security without walls built prosperous and secure during the 1000-year reign of Christ.

 

SIGNIFICANCE:              

There is a future for Israel and there is a future for other nations but Israel especially has God’s eye upon her. When Jesus healed a Gentile woman’s daughter in Matthew 15, He did so after declaring that He was sent to the Jews first. The healing of the gentile woman’s daughter taught the disciples that faith in the God of Israel was not restricted to Israel. We should teach and honor God’s commitment to the future of Israel, but during this age, we should emphasize faith in Christ. No one, even Israel, is saved without faith in Christ. Even Israel’s future is dependent upon their repenting and believing the Messiah. So we should be committed to a future Israel but emphasize to everyone faith in Christ today!