And the word of the LORD of hosts came, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. Thus says the LORD: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the LORD of hosts: If it is marvelous in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in my sight, declares the LORD of hosts? Thus says the LORD of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.” (ESV)
The challenging question that we face throughout the Old Testament is: “How can a Holy God dwell in the midst of a sinful people?” Because of Israel’s rebellion and spurning of God’s grace – the LORD had devastated both the northern and southern tribes. They were sent into captivity, and the Temple itself, the symbolic representation of the LORD dwelling in their midst, was destroyed. According to verses 1-3, did Israel’s sins cause God to want to have nothing to do with Israel any longer? Back in Zechariah chapter 5, the LORD gave two ways that He was dealing with the remaining sin in the remnant of His people: In 5:1-4; God judged the sin of individuals. In 5:6 ff; the LORD removed idolatry from the land. Given the suffering that Israel recently endured, 8:4-5 must have seemed like merely a dream to many in the city. But according to verse 6, did it seem like a mere dream to God? Why not? Don’t miss verse 7. Is the LORD’s plan for deliverance confined to Jerusalem?
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 84
Q. 84. What doth every sin deserve?
A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.