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: James 1:19-20

“My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

We could all use just a little bit more listening lately, couldn’t we? And yet, here I am speaking…well, writing anyway. But I tend to write like I talk (as perhaps the audio gives away), so I guess I’m speaking. I’ve actually had the opportunity lately to be a part of a few different conversations on recent events. I’m grateful for that. I’ve learned much and also had reaffirmed some things I thought to be true beforehand. May I share some of that with you?

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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 Musings: Judges 19:12

“And his master said to him, ‘We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel, but we will pass on to Gibeah.'”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This judgment on the part of the Levite is fraught with irony.  He doesn’t want to stay with these foreigners because of how his party might be received.  Instead, he insists on traveling a bit further at a time of day that was no longer safe for traveling, so that his party could find shelter among their own people.  And yet, when they arrive in Gibeah, all hell breaks loose. Read the rest…