Posts Tagged With: Hope

Rolling Chariots and a Glorious Kingdom Restore Hope: Zechariah Devotional, part 8

by Pastor Riley Fraas

As Zechariah’s visions continue, we get a glimpse of God’s authority over the whole earth, and a picture of hope for the future.  Our great God rules over all the earth, and He has established “The Branch”, our Lord Jesus Christ, as King to build His temple, to rule and defend us, and as our Priest to bring us forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with the LORD by His own precious blood.

Zechariah 6:1 And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.

In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;

And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.

Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?

And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.

In the beginning of this oracle we see a vision of the armies of the LORD.  Horse-drawn chariots were the most fearsome military weapon system then known.  They could attack with deadly speed and impact.  The LORD is King over all the earth.  His power has no limit.  He is even now ruling over all the earth and executing His will through His army, the angelic host.  There is not any corner of the globe that is out of His reach.  No matter what we as God’s people, His chosen nation and the kingdom of His rule, that is the Church of Jesus Christ face, our God is stronger.  Though we are weak in the eyes of the world, yet our God is more powerful than all.  He is the one who protects and defends us.  Nothing can harm His kingdom, and He rules over all the earth.  Since our God rules over all, we His people have nothing to fear, anywhere in the world.  No one can do anything to us outside of His perfect will.  He has a plan and He is executing it perfectly.

The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country.

And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth.

Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.

The north country is a reference to Babylon.  The nation of the Jews had not long before endured captivity in Babylon for seventy years.  That northern country had been a source of shame, death, and enslavement for the people of God.  But God was going to make of it a quiet, peaceful situation, taking it over it with His mighty army.  What had been a threat in the past was only a tool in the loving hand of Almighty God to chastise His people when they had been unfaithful.  But now He has quieted that hornet’s nest of Babylon.

God sometimes uses the evil actions of wicked people and nations to confront His people with their sin, to restrain their rebellion, and to bring them back to their knees, to rely on Him and Him alone instead of being self-secure in their independent mindset.  But woe to those evil people that God uses!  There is nothing on earth that can harm us, because no one can do anything to us apart from God’s will.  Let us not fear those chastening enemies that come against us, whether circumstances, or temptation, or tribulation, or being in need, or opposition.  Instead, let us trust in the merciful hand of God who is using these things for His own good purpose, and who is in total and utter control.  One day these things which come against us and militate against the Lord will be obliterated or fully conquered, and the peace of God will reign over the entire earth.

And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

10 Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;

11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;

12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord:

13 Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

14 And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.

15 And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.

The LORD commands Zechariah to crown Joshua the High Priest.  Doing that, Zechariah is to prophesy to the beleaguered people of God a glorious age when a man named “The Branch” will reign in Jerusalem and will build the temple of the LORD.  There will be a close council between Him and the priest at His side.  This picture is that of the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King and High Priest of the people of God.

If we, God’s people, have enemies against us, we have a King to rule over and defend us.  If we have sinned against the LORD, we have a great high priest who shed His own blood for us, who continually intercedes for us at the Father’s right hand.  It is He who is building His Church (Matthew 16:18), the holy temple of the LORD, and He knows exactly what He is doing!  Let us take comfort and draw hope in these things, that no matter what we may go through in this life, we are under the rule and protection, and beneficiaries of His priesthood.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.  Therefore let us be fitted together like stones, as the Church, His building and holy temple, continuing our life together in prayer, in worship, and mutual discipline and fellowship as we glorify our great King and Priest.

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Zechariah Devotional, part 4: God’s Plans Are Greater Than Our Expectations

Cattle stockyard. Mendota, California.Zechariah 2 I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.

Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.

And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him,

And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein:

For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.

The second chapter of Zechariah continues with a series of word-pictures, symbolizing what God has in store for His people.

There is a man with a measuring line, a method of measuring the city, similar in use to a yardstick.  Why is he measuring the city?  He’s apparently measuring the size of the new city, which will be much greater than anyone would think[i].

They have been scattered and abused by nations like Assyria and Babylon, but God is her Builder.  Although only small remnant was allowed by the Persian Emperor Cyrus to return and rebuild the city, and the rebuilding seems at this stage quite pitiful compared to its former splendor, God’s building plans are far larger than the remnants’ imagination.  Human ability seems weak, but God is planning to bless His holy city to such an extent that it will have too many people and cattle living in it to be contained within walls!

Isn’t it true that the churches of Jesus Christ in our day and age seem to be small and few?  Is there not a small remnant calling upon the name of the Lord?  But God’s plans for His people are much bigger than our imagination.  Even today, the good news of forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God is going forth throughout the nations.  And knowing what a great God we have, don’t think for a minute that God can’t do it right within our midst!  His plans for us are greater and more abundant than anything we can expect or think.

Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord.

Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.

For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me.

Although the world has troubled God’s holy people, just a shaking of His hand over them will be their undoing.  God will continue to bring back the rest of His people who are exiled in faraway Babylon, and join them to His flock in Jerusalem.  And all those who held them in bondage will suffer for their crimes, for God is a God whose jealous love burns hotly for His people whom He loves.

Even in our day and age, God has His chosen people scattered here and there, whom He is bringing into blessed and sweet communion with His Church, His holy Bride.  Whoever they are, wherever they are, wherever they came from, he will bring them out of their captivity to sin and the thrall of Satan to enjoy the blessed fellowship of the redeemed, in His own timing.  And He is doing this even now.  We can be assured that all the purposes of our great God will be accomplished in this.  The sins will be purged away and Satan will pay for his crimes against God’s elect for holding them under his sway, until the day of their blessed deliverance, when grace made them alive and they were made willing and able to respond positively to the savory gospel promises by the work of the Holy Spirit within them.

10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord.

11 And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee.

12 And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.

13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation. 

Here the promise and fulfillment come together in description in a prophetic song of victory.  This is one of those choice and delicious passages of the Old Testament which triumphantly proclaims God’s grace pervading the nations—not only one nation.  There will come a day, says the prophet Zechariah, when the grace of God will extend beyond national lines, to join nations which have not known Him unto His people.  “Many nations,” says he, “will be joined to the LORD”, to be “my people”!  That is, they will come and be citizens of Jerusalem, in the midst of which He dwells.

We can all be thankful for God’s grace in saving not only one nation, but some of every nation, including ourselves!  And He made us all one in Christ.  We see this mighty action of God having worked itself out in history through the proclamation of the gospel and the effectual application of it to many souls by the Holy Spirit across the entire globe from shore to shore to shore.  There is scarcely a nation or a language on the entire earth today in which the Father is not worshiped in the name of His Son Jesus Christ.  And let us be sure that He is not finished yet.  He is adding yet more to the number of the redeemed, to the citizenry of that Holy City which shall never pass away.

[i] Some Insights gained from the ESV Study Bible

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