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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Lord gives strength in the battle (Zech. 12:1-9)

In this message the prophet Zechariah describes a fierce attack on the city of Jerusalem and its subsequent deliverance by God. If one wishes to interpret this prophecy literally, then the attack has not yet occurred because none of the assaults on Jerusalem that have occurred produced the outcomes described here. If we regard the prediction as using the attack on the city as an illustration of an assault on God's kingdom, then it is possible to see how such an attack is followed by the salvation God gave.

The opposition to God's city is here said to be universal. Although the other nations may have their differences between themselves, they join together in opposing God's kingdom. This sinful unity occurs repeatedly throughout history and it is occurring today.

The Lord encourages his people by reminding them that he is the Creator of all things who gives life to all humans (the implication is that he can easily take it away from them no matter how powerful they think they are). We should remember that the most powerful nations are only humans, and weak in the sight of God. 

The Lord also assures his people that in a way no one can understand he will use them to overcome the powerful forces ranged against them. He does this by givIng to them spiritual strength. In this prophecy, he mentions that this divine strength is first given to the residents of Jerusalem because they were the ones experiencing the assault by the enemy. Yet when others living in Judah saw how strong the residents of the city had become, they also were encouraged. It always helps believers to observe how other Christians are receiving spiritual strength from God.

The prophet also points out that God will ensure that all of those he strengthens will share in the victory he provides. He does this in order that humans will not be exalted as if they somehow had achieved the victory. We are prone to think that prominent people in the church are responsible for the triumphs of God's kingdom, so we should take note of this emphasis in the prophet's message. We are all more than conquerors through him who loves us.

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