What a mixture of chapters we have today. In Job, Elihu continues his speech, a young man who rebukes Job’s 3 friends because of their attitude to Job: he invites Job to “listen to all my words.” [33 v.1] His role in the ‘drama’ is not clear, when the ‘LORD’ comes on the scene in ch. 38 he makes no reference to Elihu as he rebukes the 3 “friends” – saying “you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” [42 v.7] It rather seems that Elihu is the forerunner preparing the way for God to speak – a kind of John the Baptist.
Zechariah’s ch. 9 is most interesting and challenging to understand: the climax to the chapter invites us to see its application as being to the days when Jesus first came – and – when he comes again. Verse 9 describes when he first came, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey …” However, they rejected him and the rest of the chapter applies to when he comes again, a time when “he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. ” [v.10] He declares, ” I will stir up your sons, O Zion … and wield you like a warrior’s sword.” [v.13] What will this be – in practice?
The prophet declares “The LORD of hosts will protect them … On that day the LORD their God will save them, as the flock of his people … For how great is his goodness …” [v.15-17] It seems increasingly clear that these events could be about to happen. As the LORD acts to “protect them” may he, by his grace, protect all those who believe in his Son with all their hearts – and whose lives display their faith.
We finally turned to the ‘jigsaw’ of the events described in Revelation. Chapter 9 highlights the un-binding of the angels that have been “bound at the great river Euphrates.” [v.14] We deduce this as applying to the collapse of the Turkish Empire – and all the drama that has followed in the Middle East in the last 99 years.
We read of a particular “the hour, the day, the month, and the year” when the angels are to be “released to kill a third of mankind.” [v.15] Awesome! Fearsome! Is this literal? How utterly godless our world has become in the last 100 years! But the ‘end’ does not immediately follow, “the rest of mankind” does not “repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” [v.20,21] Think of what makes news today!
We take both comfort and inspiration from the words of Jesus, expressed in the past tense, that “if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.” [Mar. 13 v.20] May we, by his grace, soon see the world of today in the same way – because we – by his grace – will be in the kingdom – because “the Lord … will protect” us – for “how great is his goodness” going to be toward the natural and spiritual seed of “Abraham” to whom “the gospel” was first “preached”[Gal. 3 v.8]