Read: Zechariah 14
Chapter 14 begins by describing the horrific realities of war.
Honestly, after the first two verses, I didn’t want to continue reading. All the age-old questions abound: Why does God allow such hatred and cruelty to happen at all?
But I do continue reading, and I’m glad, because the hatred and cruelty WILL end. God promises to rise up and strike down oppressors.
“Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations as he fights on a day of battle.”
The Lord won’t sit idly by. He will rise. And he will intervene.
Thank you, Lord!
Throughout Scripture a valley is used as an analogy of those dark and painful seasons in life. Psalm 23 is a prime example.
“Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me.”
But in Zechariah 14, a valley is supernaturally created to provide a way of escape.
There will be a massive earthquake. And the Mount of Olives — which is best remembered as the place where Jesus delivered his famous “Sermon on the Mount” — will be divided into two halves, with a valley created to separate the two halves. And the people suffering in Jerusalem will be able to escape through this valley.
I’ve had to pause and meditate on this…A valley will provide the escape? A valley — which is normally associated with pain and suffering — will be the route by which God’s people will escape to safety!
Zechariah 14 is causing me to reconsider my own valleys. I’m not trying to minimize the sorrow from these valleys. I’m just asking God to show me how to view my own valleys as a possible route to something better. Like Romans 8:28 says:
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
The other image from Zechariah 14 that I love — besides the idea of a valley providing the escape route to safety — is the image of a river of living water flowing from Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem is unique among all ancient cities in that it wasn’t built near a river. All ancient cities were built near rivers. Because every civilization needs a reliable water source.
But Jerusalem has springs of water deep underground that provide the water source for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And one day, God will cause something to shift geologically and a new river will flow from the city.
A river of life will flow.
This is the promise we have. That one day, all sorrows will be erased and a new river of life will flow.
The book of Zechariah is not the easiest book in the Bible to read. It’s full of visions and prophetic imagery. Some of the visions depict God’s wrath and judgment, while other visions describe God’s redemptive grace and mercy. This is the God we serve.
We serve a God of both grace and truth.
It’s popular today to describe God only as being full of grace and mercy. But that’s not what the Bible says. And if we go back and read the first two verses of Zechariah 14, we can be thankful that God IS a God of justice.
A day will come when justice will reign.
In a journal or notebook, write Zechariah 14:11.
“People will live there, and never again will there be a curse of complete destruction. So Jerusalem will dwell in security.”
Or write any passage from today’s reading that stands out to you.
Thank you, Lord, that you are a God who sees the suffering of your people. You are not ambivalent to the cries of your children. You see it all and hear it all. And in your Word, you promise to fight on behalf of your people. Throughout the book of Zechariah, you are described, time and again, as the Lord of the Armies. You are a valiant warrior who rises up to protect your people. Thank you for being both a God of mercy and a God of justice. I’m so grateful for who you are. In your name I pray, amen.