Sunday, August 05, 2018

The Spirit who moves in world affairs and the hearts of people

Prayer - Photo courtesy
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Zechariah 9-14; Psalm 62

TO CHEW ON: "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn" - Zechariah 12:10

The prophet Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai. He prophesied to the Jews who had returned from exile under Zerubbabel and Joshua. These returnees quickly set about rebuilding the temple. But their Samaritan neighbors resisted them, went to the King of Persia, and got an order for them to stop the rebuild. This project was then on hold for twelve years.

Into this context of discouragement and distraction (for in the meantime, the returned exiles became absorbed in fixing their own homes) Zechariah encouraged them to finish the job. He did this by pointing them to a day when Messiah will rule from a restored temple in a restored city.

I see two unexpected, we could say miraculous pictures in Zechariah 12.

The first is a picture of a restored Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:1-9).

This is something God does. Earth's armies don't stand a chance when God makes Jerusalem a "cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples" (vs. 2) and a "heavy stone" (vs. 3), when He strikes "every horse with confusion... blindness" (vs. 4), and causes Judah's governors to be "like a fiery torch in the sheaves" (vs. 6). God says in plain language: "It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Israel" - Zechariah 12:9.

The second is a picture of the Jews understanding and accepting "Me whom they pierced" (vs. 10).

How can this be a reference to anything other than Jesus on the cross? The cross was an instrument of torture and extreme humiliation. How will the Jews' scornful, mocking attitude toward Jesus change? Via another miracle. It happens when God pours on the "house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of Grace and supplication" - Zechariah 12:10.

I take encouragement for our own times from these pictures.

1. God's Spirit is active in nations.
God isn't governed by polls, the political pundits, or the media when it comes to who governs us and how successful they are. Whenever we're in election mode, it's easy to become smug or discouraged about the outcome depending on how our favorite party or leader is doing, based on the natural ways of measuring public support and the vote that will result. Do we believe that God is in these things too—that He can move in circumstances relating to who comes to power, no matter how it looks along the way? Let's not stop praying for the things God has laid on our hearts for our country, knowing that He is sovereign in who comes to power.

2. God's Spirit can enlighten the darkest heart.
Here God pours out His Spirit on those who killed Him so that they recognize who He is and understand what He did. He can also enlighten our loved ones.  In the words of a sidebar article in my Bible:

"This obvious prophetic reference to the Cross is a dramatic witness to the ministry and power of the Holy Spirit, whose mission is to glorify the Messiah and draw hearts to Him. It explains how the outpouring of the Holy Spirit has caused and will cause Jesus' death and sacrifice to become understood from Pentecost until He comes again" Scott G.Bauer, "The Holy Spirit Witnesses to the Cross of the Messiah," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1261.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for these encouraging pictures of how You move in world affairs and in the hearts of people. Help me to continue to pray in faith that You are at work in my land and in the people I love. Amen.


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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