And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the LORD GOD. That is the day of which I have spoken. – Ezekiel 39:7-8
The visions in the second half of Zechariah bear a certain timelessness that makes them difficult to apply. No longer are we dealing with temporal concerns of temple-building or fast-keeping. Instead, past, present and future are woven throughout each other in what, at times, can feel like a confusing pattern.
Today’s opening is clear enough: the burden of the word of the LORD is against a variety of nations: Hadrach and Aram, Tyre and Sidon, and the tribes of the Philistines. For Jerusalem’s king is coming to her, who has bent Judah as His bow, and has made Ephraim His arrow, and His reign shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
This promise to restore and protect Judah and Israel carries through chapter 10, but in chapter 11 comes an interesting command: “Thus said the LORD my God, “Become shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter…” What follow might be difficult to trace: either Zechariah is speaking and living out a part, or someone else is doing the same, or the entire vision is a metaphor with no specific character attachments. It seems this could be a representation of Israel’s history to date, but this is inconclusive.
My encouragement, as elsewhere, is to read for broader implications and allow details to settle in through repeating readings. You’re allowed to be discerning while humble, recognizing that the meaning of these oracles may have been evident to the original hearers, or may have been just as cryptic to them as it isb to us.
Our verse for this week is Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
Zechariah 9 through 11. Now let’s read it!