“This is the Word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, who forms the spirit of man within him, declares: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.”
Every year when September rolls around I find myself anticipating with a certain amount of excitement the resumption of all of the tasks which were laid aside of the summer months. The rest and relaxation of the summer are always welcome and as I grow older desperately needed. There is a sense however that the restfulness of summer is not to be my natural state. It is good as the fall comes around to pick up the burdens of my normal workload. I always find this to be an exciting time of year. We are beginning Bible Studies, Sunday School, and the full range of Worship Services that are a regular part of the programming at First Baptist Church Brampton.
The rest and reflection of summer always serves to give me an opportunity to reflect on and to define just what is needed in this next year’s service. To begin again requires that we have a fresh, Biblical perspective that comes from the LORD. Labour in the flesh is never productive. What is needed is a labouring in the Spirit of God. This is the perspective that we find as the twelfth chapter of Zechariah begins to unfold before us. As the Prophet begins the second burden, or Word from God he does so by first of all making a statement in verse one which introduces the whole final section of his prophesy. In this verse the LORD identifies Himself as the sovereign, creative, God who has infinite, limitless power to accomplish everything which He speaks about. This power even extends down to His forming the spirit of man within him. There is nothing that the Sovereign LORD cannot do. It is with this perspective that we are called to begin again.
When we turn to the second verse we encounter a word which is not translated in the NIV. It is the word, “behold”. We are to stop and observe the thing that God is about to do. He is about to move powerfully in the whole world to accomplish that purpose that He has been constantly speaking about in every part of His Word. This word of God is always needed. Perhaps we need it a little bit more this September as we find ourselves facing all manner of bewildering circumstances in our world. What are we to think as we live facing such uncertainty? Zechariah writes that we are to recognise that the Sovereign LORD is still at work accomplishing His gracious purposes in the LORD Jesus Christ. The outcome is certain, because He is Sovereign. What at tremendous hope this brings to us.
At the heart of Zechariah’s Prophesy is a call for every one of God’s people to turn to Him in genuine repentance. The sending of the Messiah into our world was a dividing point. To encounter Him was to be brought to the point of a decision. Hanging in the balance was eternity. Listen to the way Luke describes this point as he writes about the testimony of John the Baptist.
“He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the LORD, make straight paths for Him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, and the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.’”” (Luke 3:3-6)
Luke tells us that the ministry of the LORD Jesus Christ is one which brings us to the point of repentance. Will we repent and begin to walk humbly with God in Christ who is our only hope of salvation, or will we continue to trust in our own flesh? Every circumstance in our lives crowds us to the point where we have to deal with the Christ. How will we respond?
There is only one way to begin again. This is through coming to God in humble repentance. Zechariah shows us the way. Will you turn to the LORD?