“People will live there, and never again will there be a curse of complete destruction. So Jerusalem will dwell in security.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Post-apocalyptic movies have had a pretty steady audience for several decades now. It’s a niche market, to be sure, but one that has been growing over the years. The reason for this is cultural. Our visions of the future are either hyper-technological or post-apocalyptic or both. Usually, if you push them far enough out, the more desolate picture wins. Visions of utopia have generally dried up. We are increasingly without hope as a people. What Zechariah reminds us of here, though, is that hope should never be given up on entirely.
“Don’t gloat when your enemy falls, and don’t let your heart rejoice when he stumbles, or the Lord will see, be displeased, and turn his wrath away from him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
It is satisfying to see someone who deserves justice get it. When someone has been wronged, we love to see them get what is right. Conversely, when someone has done something wrong, we love to see them get their due punishment. This is part of what made movies like Home Alone such a hit. A couple of bad guys got what was coming to them in deliciously hilarious fashion. But, while justice delivered is satisfying (and should be so), there’s a line here that we are wise to not cross.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Have you ever been in a place of turmoil? Of course you have. We all have. We’ve all been there multiple times. Sometimes turmoil is an almost daily affair. And in these times when life is topsy-turvy what is it that we most want? Peace. We long for peace. We need peace. We want life to feel like a scene from a Bob Ross painting. How do we get this?
“So all the men of Israel withdrew from David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah followed their king steadfastly from the Jordan to Jerusalem.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Unresolved issues become the fuel for future conflicts. There’s an old adage about conflict resolution that heralds time as a kind of universal problem-solver. Far from being true, though, this idea is nothing more than a dangerous fantasy. When we face a conflict or even a tension in a relationship, if things are not brought to a resolution, we should not consider the matter resolved. Time is no healer of wounds. Conflicts which are not resolved, but rather are simply left alone do not solve themselves. They become festering pools of bitterness that eventually threaten to poison everything around them and become the lens through which we view everything else in our lives.
In this second part of our series, Hard Sayings, we looked a bit more closely at the hard saying from last week that following Jesus is hard. Here we have reaffirmed for us the difficulty of remaining faithful over the long haul, but we also get a bit of a reprieve: The rewards are pretty good as well. Keep reading to see how this unfolds.
A Difficult Journey
When was the last time you did something that was hard, but which left you feeling like you’d done something worthwhile? That’s a really good feeling, isn’t it? You work hard, make some sacrifices even, and come out on top. Like you, I’ve done this kind of thing a few times, but probably the thing that stands out the most to me was learning to play the drums. I started when I was in seventh grade. I had played the trumpet in sixth grade, but then I got braces. Braces and the trumpet do not play well together. Drums didn’t hurt. I started taking lessons almost immediately from a teacher in my neighborhood. That teacher moved. I found another one. I didn’t like him at all. Found a third teacher who was great and stuck with him all the way through high school and into college. And I practiced. Much to my parents’…and probably the neighbors’ too…chagrin, I practice a lot. Then I got to college. I took more lessons and played with the percussion ensemble. In fact, I played a lot, not only with the various university ensembles, but I also started playing with different bands including getting to tour and cut a cd with a rock band of some friends when their previous drummer quit. Read the rest…