Time for some more devotional readings of Scripture! They are always a work in progress, but I love talking them through with you.
I was so encouraged by taking some time to read through the book of Ruth – you can catch up here if you missed those.
At the moment I’m reading through the book of Zechariah. My aim is to post a few thoughts each Wednesday. Let me know your own reflections in the comments; I’d love to hear your encouragements from God’s Word. If you’re looking for a commentary on the book of Zechariah, try Meredith Kline’s Glory In Our Midst: A Biblical-Theological Reading of Zechariah’s Night Visions.*
We are not abandoned
Is the world is getting darker? Maybe every generation thinks that way when they get to the other side of 35. But I have definitely felt that way so much more since becoming a mother.
It’s one thing to navigate my way through a world deeply hostile to Christ. It is another thing again raising my children to do so. Sometimes I feel so much fear about raising our family of little ones. Over and over I have to entrust them to the Lord’s safe keeping.
So I’m praying that spending some time in the book of Zechariah will strengthen my arm, heart, soul and mind with the truth that the Lord is with us.
God’s people were in exile, experiencing loss, displacement, slavery and hopelessness. They were a small nation, decimated and overtaken by a huge and sophisticated empire. They had turned their backs on worshipping the only true God. “The Lord was very angry with your fathers.”
But Zechariah’s visions, written at the time when Darius was the king of Babylon, were profoundly encouraging. Despite appearances, they are not abandoned. The Lord is in their midst.
Living in between the coming of Christ and the return of Christ has its similarities with the exile. I am sure that from the world’s perspective we are a people left behind and forgotten.
And I certainly feel like a stranger and alien in this world – more so every time I listen to the news or read the papers.
But here is the hope: the Lord is with us. He is in our midst.
He is right there in the thick of it. In the midst of our little family; in the midst of our church family in our small town; in the midst of His people around the globe. And His presence is one of glory, light, hope and power.
How does it start though?
“Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.”
Return to me, and I will return to you. Return, repent, draw near to the Lord, and He will draw near to you.
What a simple and profound way to begin. What an incredible promise.
This is the introduction to Zechariah’s prophecy, and it underpins the entire message of the book. The call to repentance and the promise of restored relationship. Return to me and I will return to you. God’s remedy for sin. It underpins the entire Christian life.
I often pray for my kids that they will be people who are able to say sorry. Both to other people and to the Lord. And we practice it now when they are little because it’s a life skill worth acquiring.
I pray it for myself too. It’s hard to say sorry and to be humble. To be soft necked and have knees that still know how to bend.
The hope of relationship restored
At the heart of the encouragement to repent, is the hope of actually being with the Lord. Know this for certain: return to me and I will return to you.
The restoration of relational peace is such a sweet feeling of relief. Even more so when the One is with you is the Lord of Hosts. Now you can face anything.
So the Lord is in our midst, but the starting point is one of repentance. And the breathtaking promise that if we return to Him, He will return to us.
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