by Deb Tomlian
Published in the Titus Women’s Ministry eNews
December 12, 2014
When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,
it was like a dream.
We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
“What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!
Restore our fortunes Lord,
as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s armies says:
“Return to me, and I will return to you”,
says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
The people of Israel had been taken captive by the people of Babylon. The Israelites had been living in exile because their ancestors, whose hearts were as hard as stone, refused to listen and stubbornly turned away from the words of the prophets; they continued with their wicked ways and their evil practices. In chapters 1-7 of the book of Zechariah, the Lord gives Zechariah eight visions. It is a picture of love, restoration and harvest. Each vision is a picture of the Lord’s passionate love fighting for us.
Several years ago our family had the privilege of going to Europe to live for several months. It was the greatest experience of our lives. However, we would not have said that in the first couple months. You see, we did not know the language. Talking with neighbors, buying groceries (esp. deli items) paying bills, getting gas, playing in the park, taking train trips, going to church, getting an auto part, needing medicine or trying to buy something as little as a screw, all seemed foreign. We did not feel like we were taken captive, but we knew we were not home.
Being taken into captivity doesn’t literally mean we have to be taken into custody by someone else, although that may be the case. It could be the that we allow the world to take our thoughts, our words and our hearts captive which, in fact, could keep us in bondage. Pain, loss of a job, finances, relationships, misunderstandings, death of a loved one, injustices, broken marriages, wayward children, poor health, etc., can put us into captivity. Prosperity can lead to captivity too. In the book of Zechariah, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is calling out for us to return to Him. It doesn’t matter where we are, He is saying, “Come home. I am going to restore Jerusalem. I am going to restore you! I love you with a
passionate love and it is strong!” Walk with me as we see Restoration in the book of Zechariah.
As the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is calling the people back to Jerusalem, the temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt, the city will be restored, and its walls will be walls of fire for the Lord Himself is protecting it. He will be the Glory inside the city; the Lord is calling His people back. The presence of the Lord provided a security that the city would be rebuilt. The Lord sees the young man with the measuring tape and He wants him to know that the city will one day be prosperous again, filled with people and livestock. The Lord promises that anyone who tries to harm Israel will be His target for destruction. The Lord desires us to shout and rejoice for He is coming to live among us. Then he states, Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling (Zechariah 2:13). The Lord works on behalf of all his children. The Lord is King! We see Jeshua being appointed as high priest. Satan throws accusations at him and Jesus Himself intercedes, rejecting the accusations from Satan. The Lord rescues Jeshua. He removes his filthy clothes and gives him fine, new clothing. The Lord places a clean priestly turban on his head. (I like to believe that the clean garments not only represent a clean heart but also a clean mind.) Then the Lord spoke solemnly to Jeshua telling him to be very careful to obey the words of the Lord. Jeshua, the high priest, is a symbol of One yet to come, Jesus, the Messiah, our Hope.
The Lord doesn’t just restore our physical being; He restores our spiritual and mental being too. The Lord watches over us, His eyes are searching the earth. When the Lord implements a plan, there is no mountain big enough to stop what the Lord has set in motion, and so it was with the temple. It is neither by force nor by strength, but by my spirit, says the Lord. So very often, the Lord lets us get into predicaments we cannot handle so He alone can be praised, receiving the glory. It is not about us. It is all about Him!
This Christmas season, explore the book of Zechariah; God’s everlasting love, so passionate and strong, God’s mercy so great, His restoration, Eternal and He Himself, our protection. Jesus is calling you today, come home!