Love Came Down with the Father’s Dreams

a92c0-calebgodmadetheworldIn the days of Zechariah, Israel swayed weakly at a crucial crossroads.  Having returned to Jerusalem, the exiles began a slow painful rebuild of their lives.  Though the temple altar was built by the fall of that year, opposition was fierce against the Jews and in their distress, they abandoned the work to avoid further conflict and focused on building their lives instead.  Haggai chastised the nation to reconsider their priorities and called them to hear God’s promise of protection and build the temple (Hag. 1:11, 2:17).

Zechariah, grandson of the returning priest Iddo, a Levite, worshiper and prophet, rephrased Haggai’s pleas months later with a call to Israel to put God first and build the temple.  By 515 BC, the temple was completed, rededicated with great rejoicing.[1]

The restoration of the temple is a back-story for the greater drama Zechariah shared as he described God’s plans for the Messiah to come, culminating in His children living as Zion, the Lord’s sweet expectancy since He first breathed life into Adam.

God’s excitement for His Zion can barely be contained:

I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; With great fervor I am zealous for her. “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will return to Zion, And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the Lord of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’ [3]

Zeal, fervor and passion  echoed through the text as God cries out His intentions for His people, which through Christ, includes each of us who believe. Like an action-packed thriller, God promises to bring His people back where He will dwell in their midst and they will be His, in truth and righteousness:

Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east  And from the land of the west; I will bring them back, And they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people And I will be their God, In truth and righteousness.’ [4]

nature-sunny-field-summerTo a people weary with rebuilding, God shouts His joy, His plans to bless His people with an impact that would change even the earth’s outcomes:

For the seed shall be prosperous, The vine shall give its fruit, The ground shall give her increase, And the heavens shall give their dew— I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these. And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, So I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, Let your hands be strong.’ [5]

‘Times have changed, folks’, Zechariah told his friends in Israel, “for Our God is passionate about seeing His plan of restoration and salvation unfold.  Get ready, because the God you serve is intending to bless your socks off,  ‘cause God says, “I am determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear.”[6]

With this promise of great blessing and prosperity, God asks His people to shift their life choices:

These are the things you shall do:  Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace; Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; And do not love a false oath.” [7]

God’s kids need to walk different than the rest of the world. When they do, it packs a punch.  Check out Fiji’s transformation.  When civil war overtook the nation, the church laid down their grievances with each other and started praying.  From there, godly government rose up with the authority and resources to make substantive changes.  As the torch of reconciliation came village to village through the scattered islands of Fiji, thousands found God.  The land started producing massive quantities of fruit.  The corral in the sea healed.  Fish flooded inland to feed the hungry.(See Let the Sea Resound on Youtube for a powerful documentary of transformation:

God cries out to each of us, “ Be My Zion!” , He pleads, “Love truth and peace” God says, “because this marks you as Mine”. When His people love what He loves, a nation is transformed:

Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities; The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Let us continue to go and pray before the Lord, And seek the Lord of hosts. I myself will go also.”Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, And to pray before the Lord.’ “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” [8]

God is dreaming about children who would live so surrendered to His heart of love that nations would be transformed.  God is determined to do good, zealous for His children to be His Zion, who cling steadfast to peace and truth, loving by the power of the Holy Spirit, until people will beg, “Can we come with you, for we know that God is with you!”

FullSizeRender (5)Revival comes when our hearts burn for God’s dreams of love’s global impact.  May we surrender to the Holy Spirit.  May we love truth and peace that our cities and our nations may be forever changed as Love Comes Down through us all.

Let’s Pray: O Father God, we feel Your joy as you shout Your dreams for a world that finds You through Your kids’ active love here on earth.  O Lord, help us love truth and peace, to seek You taking this world with love.  May we hear Your cry to live intentionally, full of expectation of Your good, expecting Your blessing that we may bless.  You are marvelous Great Almighty God!  Day after day, Your mercies are new, and Your hopes for this world continues burning bright.  May we love others with Your passion as we live by the grace of Jesus Christ through the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit, burn God’s zealous dreams of His Zion into all our hearts this day. Amen.

This Week’s Reading:  Zechariah

Next Week’s Reading: Malachi and Matthew 1-3

Study Questions:

  1. What are you dreaming about?  Is this a dream you need God to accomplish?
  2. How do you feel about God needing us to accomplish His dreams on earth?
  3. Zechariah had many visions, but the Lord was gracious to interpret the dreams.  Do you know the Holy Spirit is gracious to bring clarity to our dreams?
  4. The Holy Spirit is the power to walk in love.  Do you know Him?  Are you willing to ask for His help to make God’s dream of Zion reality in your city?
  5. What does it mean, on a Tuesday evening, for you to love peace and cling to truth?  How are you growing in this discovery?
[1]Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson study Bible : New King James Version. Includes index. (Zec 1:2). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
[2]Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson study Bible : New King James Version. Includes index. (Zec 1:2). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
[3]The New King James Version. 1982 (Zec 8:2-3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[4]The New King James Version. 1982 (Zec 8:7-8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[5]The New King James Version. 1982 (Zec 8:12-13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[6]The New King James Version. 1982 (Zec 8:15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[7]The New King James Version. 1982 (Zec 8:16-17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[8]The New King James Version. 1982 (Zec 8:20-23). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.