Morning Musing: Zechariah 12:2-3

“Look, I will make Jerusalem a cup that causes staggering for the peoples who surround the city. The siege against Jerusalem will also involve Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who try to lift it will injure themselves severely when all the nations of the earth gather against her.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

I want you to imagine something for me for a minute. Imagine that you are part of a people who have known persecution. No, that doesn’t mean you haven’t been able to get a good parking spot at the mall in ages. It means that you have been regularly and intentionally made the victim of injustice and prejudice for a long period of time. Victimhood is part of your psyche in a way people who don’t think through a lens of persecution can’t understand. It was taught to you by your parents—even if unintentionally—and you have taught it to your own children because your people are victims so often that you simply assume you’ll be a victim at some point even if it hasn’t happened yet. Got it in your mind? Depending on the color of your skin or the country in which you were born that may not take much work to imagine. Now, here’s my question: What is it that you want? Zechariah here gives us one answer.

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Digging in Deeper: Zechariah 9:8

“I will encamp at my house as a guard, against those who march back and forth, and no oppressor will march against them again, for now I have seen with my own eyes.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

It’s hard to imagine the mindset of someone who has been persecuted unless you too have known persecution. Facing severe or sustained (or both!) persecution does something to the human mind such that a person in such a situation thinks and sees the world differently than those who do not share a set of similar experiences. Its a kind of club that no one wants to be a part of, but once you are you share a bond that transcends much of what might otherwise divide you. Israel was a people who had known persecution. Lots of it. If you want to understand why passages like this one are in the Scriptures, you’ve got to understand that.

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Digging in Deeper: Zechariah 8:6

“The Lord of Armies says this: ‘Though it may seem impossible to the remnant of this people in those days, should it also seem impossible to me?’ — this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

We live in the midst of a culture in chaos. But, as hard as all of this is to see and hear about, the riots spawning from the murder of George Floyd have not brought to us anything that was not there before. They have simply revealed what was already planted in our hearts. The seeds of racism and wanton violence have been quietly germinating in the soil of many hearts for years. They just need a bit of the waters of injustice and the dark sun of greed and they explode in ugly growth. What are we to do with this?

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Morning Musing: Habakkuk 2:12-14

“Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and founds a town with injustice! Is it not from the Lord of Armies that the peoples labor only to fuel the fire and countries exhaust themselves for nothing? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s glory, as the water covers the sea.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

What kinds of accomplishments really matter? What is it that makes a certain accomplishment significant anyway? Is it the way we go about it? Is it the intent with which we pursue it? Whatever it is, we want to know that what we do matters. If we’re going to achieve this aim, though, we’ve got to figure out what it is that makes anything matter. Not hitting that mark in anything we do would be awful…a bit like judgment…just like Habakkuk describes here.

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Digging in Deeper: Habakkuk 2:6b-8

“Woe to him who amasses what is not his–how much longer?–and loads himself with goods taken in pledge. Won’t your creditors suddenly arise, and those who disturb you wake up? Then you will become spoil for them. Since you have plundered many nations, all the peoples who remain will plunder you–because of human bloodshed and violence against lands, cities, and all who live in them.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the principles that spans both testaments of the Bible and in fact can be found in some form across many different religions is that we will reap what we sow. The choices that we make now will eventually become the reality facing us when the future arrives. We cannot live however we please without experiencing the consequences of this. While this may be a bit of a disconcerting idea when we are the ones who are making the poor choices, in general, this should be a point of great comfort and encouragement. Let’s talk about why.

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