Zechariah’s visions reveal God’s intentions for Jerusalem. The LORD declares, “My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem!” The LORD is returning to dwell in Jerusalem in the midst of his people.
This passage must have been what a friend of mine was referring to years ago when he talked about returning to Jerusalem. It was as if he believed his own faith journey would one day lead him to Jerusalem.
God, our divine warrior, has promised restoration. “At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster.” Like our last reading, the descriptions of what life looks like and the pictures painted by Zephaniah are beautiful and enticing!
Can you imagine what the people thought when they heard that God himself would be living among them? In the days of Moses, the people feared the presence of God. But this oracle would be fulfilled when Jesus was born, and again when Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would dwell within us. We have knowledge Zephaniah’s first audience did not. We should feel richly blessed to see Jesus in this promised restoration.
Immanuel means “God with us.” It’s one of the names we use for Jesus, especially at this time of year. Just let that little nugget resonate with you for a moment. In just a few short days we’ll be celebrating the birth of Jesus, our Immanuel. Because of Jesus, we have God with us. Do you believe that?
This prophecy from God through Isaiah may have a double fulfillment. We are most familiar with Matthew’s quoting the portion that refers to Jesus’ mother. “The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” From our perspective, Jesus fulfills this without question.
Oh, what a day that will be when God comes to live among us! He already sent his son, Jesus to do just that all those years ago. That’s what we celebrate in less than two weeks. God incarnate. God lived among us as one of us! Not only was he 100% God, but he was also 100% human.
I know, the math doesn’t add up, but in God’s economy, it makes perfect sense. God can do even more than we can imagine. Our minds can’t even comprehend. It’s with that awe and gratitude I want to make the most of this day, this gift God has given me.
The promise to David is so much bigger than David could have ever imagined, isn’t it? David would have success in life and as king because of God’s hand on his life. David’s devotion to the LORD would be so fervent that no king after him could emulate such loyalty.
God said about David, “Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth!” Until Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate king of this dynasty that God promised David. “Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.”