Today’s readings.. (Job 25,26,27), (Zechariah 2,3), (Jude)

Yesterday we started reading Zechariah, he was a prophet associated with Ezra (5 v.1) in the return from captivity to rebuild the Temple.  First he addresses the Jews in Babylon saying “Up, escape to Zion, declares the LORD” [2 v.7]  Then Zechariah is caused to make a fascinating point, “for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye.” [v.8]  This phrase means someone who is special in someone’s eyes, usually a father or mother.
For this reason they are to return to their homeland to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem and, after some problems and pressure, they succeed.  But again, five centuries later, the people completely fail again, this time in a terrible way; they reject and kill their Saviour, God’s Son! As a result Jesus predicted, “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” [Luke 21 v.24]
We live in the dramatic time of the fulfilment of this prediction –  it is clear today that the nation has not ceased to be “the apple of his eye.”  What we will find intriguing are the long range prophecies Zechariah is caused to make, of events which are unfolding in our times. We read today, [3 v.9] “ … declares the LORD of hosts … I will remove the iniquity of the land in a single day.”  In coming days we will read many more such predictions.
We can see some parallels in God’s dealings with Job to his dealings with his nation.  Job initially lacked faith and a long term vision as the nation did.  Job admitted, “the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.” [3 v.25]  Israel lost faith, it had no long term vision, its people only thought of the blessings of the present – and later, the lack of them.
This is a lesson for us, are we doing the same?  Look at the parable Jesus told which you will find in Luke 12 v.35-48; the final words, as usual, contain the ‘punch line’.  “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrust much, they will demand the more.”  God has entrusted his revealed word to us, indeed – to the whole world in these final times!
For over 3 years Jesus preached in Israel. He said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” [John 15 v.22]  Our final thoughts come from the end of our reading today of the short Epistle of Jude.  May our prayer similarly be – “to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy …” [v.24]

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