Therefore, thus says the Lord, I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy; my house shall be built in it, declares the Lord of hosts, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. Cry out again, Thus says the Lord of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.’ Zechariah 1:16-17
Last January, I was flipping through my Bible to get to the Scripture the sermon will cover, when a subtitle catches my eye: The Man among the Myrtles. It’s in Zechariah 1:7-17, where the prophet speaks of riders patrolling the earth and prosperity returning… an encouragement when the economy was crashing worse each day.
Who was the man among the myrtles? Was he a man or an angel? What about the riders? Had to be angels…said they roamed the entire earth, keeping watch. Did God really need them to report in what was happening? Doesn’t He already know and see all?
Why go to all this trouble to teach Zechariah?
Or was it to teach me?
This entire tableau was an understandable reference to the prophet…it fit his understanding of how a kingdom was patrolled and protected. Could it be that God was demonstrating how He cared enough about us and the troubles we face to show us that He is truly in control? He doesn’t need riders on horseback, leaders in dark wooded glen receiving reports to show He owns and rules and guides the Universe…I need to see all that in terms I can process.
But we aren’t thinking about Him in the right terms. We have been citizens of a democracy so long we have forgotten how to be subjects in His Kingdom. We have lost our identity as His children…His very spoiled children, hence the necessary lessons. For them, Zechariah and for me.