That's the Book: Zephaniah
It took me a while to write this post. First I got lost in my news feed. The protests in Portland are an angry wreck of a mess. Then I finally kicked in and researched what I was supposed to reading.
Zechariah. Found an amazing sermon. Stayed on task and wrote. Saved. Supposedly. I went back to add some photos and guess what? All my words were gone. HA HA HA HA. Blogging. What a funny game.
Let me be honest. There is entirely too much going on in the book of Zechariah for this blog post to do any sort of justice to the book. Even in a second rewrite. The 10,000 mile up view is that Zechariah was a prophet to the refugees returning to Israel from the captivity in Babylon. It contains nine dreams of symbolic prophecy, some sections of history and several poems.
If you only have time today to read one message on Zechariah quit reading my blog right now and make it Charles Spurgeon's 1877 sermon on Zechariah chapter 9. One of the factors to this blog taking me forever to write is the time I spent reading it, tweeting excerpts and generally bullying my family to read the sermon. Go now. Read it.
You didn't listen did you? Okay. Here you go. First excerpt from Spurgeon's sermon.
Dear Heart, if you are lying in Giant Despair’s castle, if you have been beaten with his crab tree club till every bone in your body is sore and your heart is ready to break, this is the key which will open every lock in Doubting Castle if you can but use it--
I can get stuck there. Despair and Doubt. They are fancy schmancy castles. They host amazing rhetoric. Decent pastimes. Lots of people who agree. Have you ever been a resident? Body sore and heart ready to break? I think the people in Portland today might identify. The people in Israel who Zechariah was sent to give a message certainly knew what despair looked like. Prison too.
One of the themes of the book of Zechariah is God was not pleased with how they were treating each other.
This is what the Lord Almighty said; Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other. But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry. Zechariah 7:8-12
Um. Stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. God might not be impressed with us either. Ya think?
Do you know how to get this done? How to get the keys to the Castles of Despair and Doubt?
As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. Zechariah 9:11-12
Oh. I want to be a prisoner of hope. Permanently aligned with love and grace.
Spurgeon's sermon continued.
“The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin —even we guilty sinners who have so much sin to be cleansed from! Believing in this Truth, trusting in Jesus, we are “accepted in the Beloved.” How gloriously God has brought some of us forth! We are not now in the pit wherein is no water. We are forever set at liberty and our heart leaps at the very sound of Jesus’ name!"
We are no longer in the pit where there is no water. We have the keys to the prison. If you've been yelling don't be like the people of Israel who refused to listen. Zechariah had some news you should hear.
The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be only one Lord, and his name the only name. Zechariah 14:9
Here's the truth. I have no ability to save anything. Clearly even saving my own blog posts is beyond my ability. My words are worth nothing. But Jesus? He is the Word. He can set you free. Permanently. Become a prisoner of hope.
Here are your resources. You're going to learn a ton and be encouraged if you put a little time in. Watch the Bible Project's Walk Through. Read Charles Spurgeon's sermon. Scroll below. Read the book.
I love when I can sign a worship song and can sing lyrics I recognize from Bible reading.
Chris Tomlin's Whom Shall I Fear? God of Angel Armies.
I liked this book. Brave women. Beautiful story.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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