2 Then I looked up, and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 I asked, “Where are you going?”
He answered me, “To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is.”
3 While the angel who was speaking to me was leaving, another angel came to meet him 4 and said to him: “Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. 5 And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’
6 “Come! Come! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the Lord, “for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven,” declares the Lord.
7 “Come, Zion! Escape, you who live in Daughter Babylon!” 8 For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye— 9 I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me.
10 “Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. 11 “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. 12 The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”
(Zechariah 2:1-13 NIV)
Last time we looked at the second of eight visions the Lord gave to Zechariah the prophet. The second vision was the expansion of chapter 1 verse 15 in the first vision. In that second vision, the Lord let His people know that he was no longer angry with the Israelites; He spoke kind and reassuring words to them. In that vision, the Lord noted that He would judge the nations that had scattered God’s people to the four winds.
Today’s passage is the third of eight visions that the Lord gave to Zechariah. This third vision is the expansion of verse 16 of chapter 1 – that of a man with a measuring line in his hand.
This third vision builds on the first two:
- Peace and protection (first vision)
- God’s favor on His people (second vision)
- Protection and invitation for all (third vision)
The reference to a “city without walls” (v. 4) is meant as a place of welcome and invitation to all. We will expand this thought in verse 11.
The “wall of fire” (v. 5) was God Himself protecting His people. Remember that timewise, this was still eighty years prior to Nehemiah coming to Jerusalem and rebuilding the city walls. All the city walls were broken down and the city gates were burned and wide open to friend and foe alike.
Verses 6 – 9 are a poetic command for the Lord’s exiled people to flee from their places of captivity back to Jerusalem. Remember that the people had been displaced from their homes and scattered in all directions when Judah and Jerusalem were conquered. This was also the Lord’s warning to not become comfortable in their captivity (v. 7). The plunders (the nations that held God’s people in captivity) were about to become the plundered (vv. 8-9). This picture was very reminiscent of God’s people being held captive in Egypt. When the Israelites left Egypt, the Egyptians gave them all sorts of riches and goods out of fear of the God of the Israelites and what He had done to the Egyptians.
Verses 10 – 13 are poetic praise and worship – a result of what God said He would do. These verses rejoice over a restored relationship between God and His people. God will once again dwell among His people (v. 10); this brings much joy and excitement to the Israelites! God’s glory and presence will be evident to all.
Verse 11 shows God’s loving kindness and the extension of His covenant to all humanity. Other nations will come into relationship with God because of His glory and presence in Israel and Jerusalem. Remember that God chose Abraham and his descendants to take God’s good news to the rest of the world. God, by blessing His people, would draw others to Himself, showing the world His goodness, mercy, and love.
May we see God as awake, active, and involved in reconciling everyone in the world to Himself.
May we remember that God has come and dwelt among His people, full of grace and truth. If you and I are followers of Christ, this includes us. God also promises to come again to permanently rule over heaven and earth.
May we be diligent and sober-minded, looking forward to His return each and every day.