“Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him.” Zechariah 12:1
It’s funny, I just sat down all prepared to tell you all about verse five from chapter twelve, “The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts their God.” And how tired I am, but God is giving me the strength and determination to carry on. But then I opened my computer and the rotating background picture changed to this:
And I knew I wasn’t just going to be writing about how God strengthens us.
Today’s reading was a lot of end time prophecy, things that most of us don’t think about that often, and I was planning on avoiding talking about them. 😉 Mostly, because they’re hard to talk about, partially because they’re hard to understand, but mostly because they scare me. It’s a lot of talk of misery and people suffering and being raped and pillaged, it’s like watching the news, I just don’t want to have my mind filled with these images. But then God gives me this picture and its beautiful message.
It’s not going to last forever.
The pain you’re in, the struggle you’re going through, the heartache you’re experiencing; it’s not going to last forever. Heaven and Earth WILL pass away, but His Word will NEVER pass away – not ever. Period. There is an eternity waiting for us on the other side of death’s door. There is a reality that is more real than our present reality, you’ll see. And the good years there will come and swallow up the bad years so completely that you won’t even be able to tell that the bad years even existed. The only place they will exist is in your memory.
“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.” Zechariah 8:7-8
This passage sounded so familiar to me when I read it this morning so I went back and looked up some old footage. There’s a good reason it sounded familiar:
Exodus 6:6-8 “Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be My people, and I will be your God who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.”
Is it just me or is there a refrain in those two verses? “I will save”, “I will bring”, “I will deliver”, “I will redeem”, “I will be your God” and “I will give it to you”, it’s all about what GOD will do… for YOU. If I’ve learned anything over the last few years it’s that I’m NOT perfect. I’ve learned that no matter what I do, it’s still never good enough for me. No matter how hard I try I will still sin and I will fall oh so short of the glory of God.
I’ve also learned that it’s not about me. The Bible, life, it’s ALL about Jesus. They’re all about what Jesus said and what Jesus did – for ME. And for YOU.
In Genesis God calls Abram to come out away from his family and everything he’s ever known and follow God wherever He decides to take him. Abraham agrees and he heads out into the unknown territory. (Which, fun fact, just happens to be where his father was headed when he stopped short of his own goal.) Then in Genesis chapter fifteen God takes Abraham out to count the stars and tells him that although childless at the moment, he will have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky and sand on the shore. Then, in order to make sure that Abraham is able to see how serious God is about this promise He has just made, He has Abraham go get a heifer, a goat, a ram, a turtledove and a pigeon and cut them in half. Then to seal the covenant Abraham took the halves of the animals and laid them out on the ground with space between the halves so that a person could walk between them through their blood. This is what’s called a blood covenant, people would do this to symbolize that if one of the parties involved in the covenant didn’t hold up their end of the bargain their fate would be the same as the animals sliced in half. It was kind of like a gory adult version of cross your heart, hope to die, stick a needle in your eye.
Anyway, the really interesting part of this blood covenant that God makes with Abraham is that when you read Genesis chapter fifteen you’ll notice that God doesn’t make any stipulations on Abraham in order to fulfill His promise to Abraham. All the requirements of the agreement are on God Himself. AND Since there is no higher authority than God, God swears by Himself that He will fulfill ALL the requirements of the covenant in order to fulfill His promise to Abraham to bless him with more descendants than the stars in the sky.
Fast forward to Hebrews chapter nine and I think you’ll find something VERY interesting. “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” (verses 11-12) My friends, God used the blood of a cow, goat, sheep and birds to secure His promise to Abraham and He kept it. How much more faithful do you think He’s going to be to His promises to you when they’ve been secured by the blood of His own SON!?! Hebrews 9:13-14 says, “For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” In the Old Testament when someone sinned they had to take their BEST animal and kill it, spilling its blood, as atonement for their sins. That animal sacrifice purified them of that sin until the next time they sinned when they would have to repeat the process. Over and over and over again. Blood was constantly pouring over the altars of Israel as their sins continued. While the blood of those goats and bulls had the power to purify, it didn’t last, it wasn’t strong enough.
BUT GOD had a better plan. The blood of a PERFECT lamb, His Son, offered as a blood sacrifice the propitiation for our sins that justified us by His Grace as a gift through the redemption of Christ Jesus. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness, at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26) See, again, ALL GOD, no you. GOD is the one who has covered you, God is the one who has justified you and purified you from all your unrighteousness. According to 1 John 4:17 as Jesus is so are we in this world.
In Zechariah 8:7-8 and Exodus 6:6-8 God says, “I will” and leaves nothing for His people to do except receive the things He is promising to do for them. Today God is saying the same thing to you through Christ, “I will deliver you from slavery to the law. I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Law. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment on JESUS. I will take you to be My people and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Law. I will bring you into the land of rest that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.”
“And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.” Zechariah 2:5
Once upon a time, several years ago, I was awakened in the night with the horrid feeling as though something evil was just outside the wall behind my head. I lay there trembling in fear and praying in the Spirit. Our bedroom is on the corner of our house and there are two roads that intersect on that corner. As I lay there motionlessly praying; I could feel the evil presence move from behind my head and down the first street. Then it stopped at the corner and sat there for a long time, until turning in front of our house and moving on down the street. This was one of my very first experiences like this and to say that it terrified me would be a vast understatement. Even after the presence was long gone I continued to pray, mostly just to calm myself down more than anything. That night, as I lay in my bed, without words or ceremony God showed me something I’ll never forget. He showed me our property, only there was a wall of fire that COMPLETELY encircled our property. And it was in that moment God showed me HIS protection for my family. I had never asked for a wall of fire, I had never done anything to put it there, or deserve it, it’s just there because HE is an all consuming fire and nothing to get through Him to me.
“And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.” Zechariah 2:5
I don’t remember reading this verse before today, and yet it’s PRECISELY what God showed me that night; a wall of fire all around with HIS glory in the midst.
My friends, I had quite a moment yesterday with tears and yelling and a frustrated begging of God to SHOW me that what He’s taught me over this last year is True, and that this life really isn’t about me and what I’m doing but about Him and what He’s done; that while I DO have power over the enemy in this world, GOD has the final say over everything – including the Enemy. And then today, it’s taken me ALL DAY to read today’s Word of the Day, a paragraph at a time, but I did it! Then it’s taking missing the finale of one of my favorite shows to write this post, but I’m doing it. To say I’m frustrated with God’s lack of making these last few days a little easier for me to accomplish this task would be an understatement. If finding time today to do this was hard, making time to do it has been even harder! (Not unlike those last .2 miles of a marathon I’d imagine.) And so just when I’m thinking that God’s not answering my prayer for Him to just deal with the Enemy right now because I just don’t have the energy to do it myself, then He shows me this verse and reminds me of my OWN wall of fire all around.
And the Truth of the matter is that the wall of fire isn’t just around my house, it’s around ME. It’s around me because He is IN me. I have felt more supernatural conflict in the atmosphere today than I have in a very long time, and it hasn’t mattered where I was, it’s been there…especially if I had my Bible in my hand. Satan does NOT want me reading my Bible, because he doesn’t want YOU reading yours. He doesn’t want you to learn its Truths and it he definitely doesn’t want you learning its Words. He doesn’t want you building a relationship with Jesus through His story or through prayer. And he will do ANYTHING that he can to keep you from those things. Anything.
God is the ALMIGHTY. God is the Maker of Heaven and Earth. He is the Alpha and the Omega the beginning and the end. He was, He is, and He will be. Jesus died for YOU simply because He loves YOU and there’s NOTHING that Satan can do to keep that message from slipping between his slimy little fingers because no matter what darkness does it CAN’T overpower the light! Darkness is simply the absence of light. It’s not even defined by what it is, but rather by what it isn’t. Darkness is defined by the very thing that chases it away and makes it flee in terror. Darkness may make us tremble in fear for but a moment, but it will tremble in fear for all of eternity at the mention of His name; the One, the Way, the Truth and the Life, THE JESUS!
Jesus is our wall of fire; He is our protector and our Savior. He is our confidante and our friend; He is our Beloved and our husband. He is our brother and our LIFE. And while NOTHING in all of creation can separate us from the love that is in Him. There is NOTHING that can separate us from the Darkness better than time with Him. Period. Friends, your life may be hectic. There may be days when you’ll have to miss that favorite show or game. There are going to be times when that time with Jesus is difficult to schedule in – do it anyway. It will be SO worth it!!! He will remind you of everything He’s ever taught you before. He will show you who you are to Him. And He will show you who He is to you. He will open your eyes to things in this world that will knock your socks off. He will because He is the great I Am.
Praise be to God!
354 days down, 4 to go. It doesn’t matter if I can do this, I WILL do this. Take that Satan!