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Lord of All the Weather

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
May 5, 2023 12:00 am

Lord of All the Weather

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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May 5, 2023 12:00 am

Is God in control of natural disasters? Can He stop Tsunamis and earthquakes if He wants to? If so, why doesn't He? In this message Stephen discusses the implications of Christ's sovereignty over nature and how this truth should effect our worldview.

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If you've been following this wisdom journey the last few days, we've been moving quickly through some of the Minor Prophets. Today, we slow down a bit as we come to Zechariah. Zechariah's comforting vision reminds us that whatever our current situation might be, we should always be looking ahead to the glorious future God has in store for us. This gives us perspective on and encouragement for the present.

Here's Steven with more. Well today in our wisdom journey we arrive at one of my favorite Old Testament books, the book of Zechariah. You know, if you're looking for some Old Testament book that talks about prophecies related to Jesus Christ, let me tell you, you've come to the right place. Zechariah gives us some of the clearest, most specific Messianic prophecies in all the Old Testament. The prophet is going to describe the future kingdom of Jesus, but he's also going to encourage the Jewish captives of his day.

They've returned from exile in Babylon. They are now rebuilding the temple, and Zechariah is going to have a partner in ministry. In fact, soon after Haggai started preaching, the Lord called Zechariah to join him. They're going to work together, pray together, preach together.

They're going to prophesy together. Now the opening verse here in Zechariah chapter 1 is an introduction for us. Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, son of Edo, fortunately Nehemiah identifies for us.

Zechariah's grandfather is Edo. He's a priest, Nehemiah chapter 12. So this means Zechariah, like the prophet Jeremiah, is both a priest and a prophet. Now the preaching of Zechariah is going to call on the people to repent.

Verse 3, return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you. Well, Zechariah reminds them here that the Lord was displeased with their ancestors. Their ancestors had refused to listen to him. They'd ended up experiencing the judgment of God with 70 years of exile in Babylon. Zechariah didn't want them to follow their ancestors' example of disobedience. Now verse 1 dates Zechariah's prophecy about a month after the people returned to begin rebuilding the temple. He wants to encourage them.

He knows they can become discouraged very easily. In fact, the prophet Haggai more than likely told him that they were already discouraged by the slow progress. Now part of Zechariah's prophecy is to reveal to them that their work is actually part of God's eternal plan. It's going to consummate in the fulfillment of his promises in the coming Messiah and the millennial kingdom. Now beginning here in verse 7, Zechariah records eight different visions, all received in one night. All of these visions are related to Israel's future deliverance and Christ's coming kingdom. Now today we're going to take a look at the first four visions.

The first vision is of a rider on a red horse, and verse 8 says that he was parked, so to speak, among the myrtle trees in the glen, and behind him were red, sorrel, and white horses. Now the man explains that they've been patrolling the earth and found that everything is at rest, so then here an angel comes along and speaks and promises to explain the meaning of this vision. The angel asks the Lord how long he will be angry with Judah and Jerusalem.

How long will they suffer without a temple in Jerusalem? And now the angel relays God's answer to Zechariah. The Lord assures the prophet and Israel that the discipline and disaster of the exile are behind them. God says here in verse 16, my house shall be built, and this, of course, is an exciting promise. The temple they're working on is going to be completed. But listen, the promise actually reaches all the way to that time of peace and prosperity in Christ's millennial kingdom.

There's an immediate fulfillment and a far long-term fulfillment. Zechariah has a second vision. In this vision he sees four horns. He's told in verse 19 they represent the nations that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.

But then suddenly four skilled craftsmen appear. Verse 21 says that they have been assigned by God to cast down the horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah. In the Old Testament, the word for horn refers to power.

They're going to take their power away. Now here in chapter 2, Zechariah records his third vision, and it begins in verse 1. I lifted my eyes and saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. And then I said, Where are you going? And he said to me, To measure Jerusalem. And then he refers to the day when Jerusalem is going to be rebuilt. Verse 4 says it's going to be inhabited as villages without walls. That's a way of saying there's no need to fear and attack, no need for walls around that future city of Jerusalem.

We're told why. Here in verse 5, God says, I will be to her, Jerusalem, a wall of fire all around, and I will be the glory in her midst. Now, beloved, this hasn't happened yet, has it? There's no wall of fire around Israel today or Jerusalem, but it will be. It will arrive when Messiah reigns in his still future thousand-year kingdom with Jerusalem as his capital city. So here's some wonderful motivation for the people to faithfully continue obeying God.

They're working on a temple project that one day is going to be crowned with God's glory. As we see here in verses 6 and 7, this is also motivation for the Jews still scattered throughout the empire, well, to return, to come home, to come back to Jerusalem. And God makes a promise here that any nation that plunders Jerusalem will one day stand under his judgment.

And again, he says, Why? Verse 8, He who touches you, Israel, touches the apple of God's eye. Now, in the ancient world, the pupil of the eye, that little black part in the center of your eye, was referred to as the apple of the eye, probably because of its round shape. We now know that the strongest protective reflex in the entire human body is to blink in order to protect the eye.

If something gets too close to your eye, you're going to blink faster than you can even consciously think. Well, this became a metaphor over time for the swift protection of God over his children. That's why David was asking God back in Psalm 17 in verse 8 when he prayed, Lord, keep me as the apple of your eye. He's asking for God to provide the fastest protection possible. You see, beloved, touching a person who belongs to God is like touching the most sensitive part of God's body.

He's going to instinctively move, so to speak. This is a metaphor of God's quick protection to protect the apple of his eye. And let me tell you, through the coming tribulation that's still yet in the future, the protection of God over Israel is going to lead many people to join with converted Israel and worship the Lord as their Messiah.

They're going to see that God is uniquely, miraculously protecting his people. Well, now, the fourth vision is recorded here in chapter 3, and here in this chapter, Zacharias is Joshua, the high priest at the time, standing before the angel of the Lord. And the angel of the Lord is actually the Lord himself. Standing beside Joshua is also Satan, the accuser. He's evidently accusing Joshua and the people of being unworthy of God's acceptance. By the way, he does the same thing to you to this day. He accuses God before you, and he accuses you before God.

What does he say? Well, he whispers to you that God is not worth following, and he tells God you're not worth keeping. That's why he's called the accuser of the brethren, that is, the believer, in Revelation 12 and verse 10. Well, here the Lord quickly rebukes Satan, saying here in verse 2, is not this a brand plucked from the fire? He's describing Joshua, he's describing Israel, but doesn't that also perfectly describe every one of us whom the Lord has saved?

Have we not been plucked from the fire, the judgment of God, the destruction that will come one day? Well, Joshua is pictured here in verse 3 as wearing filthy garments, and the angel of the Lord commands that they be removed. He says then here in verse 4, Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments. Now, this action symbolizes God's loving choice of the high priest, who was also named Joshua.

It symbolizes his choice of the nation. It also symbolizes the cleansing of the high priest for service in the rebuilt temple. But let me tell you, it also pictures prophetically a time when Israel as a nation will be cleansed as they await their coming Messiah during the tribulation period when they're converted to follow Christ. And here in verse 8, in fact, God promises, I will bring my servant the branch. Well, this is clearly a reference to the Messiah. Isaiah and Jeremiah both describe the Messiah as a branch, and now we're told here in chapter 3 of Zechariah in verse 10 that when he comes to establish his kingdom, everyone in Israel will prosper in peace, he says, under his vine and under his fig tree. That's a way of referring to the prosperity of the kingdom.

Beloved, this is a future. That's just for them, but for you and for me, everyone who comes to trust the Lord Jesus as their Messiah, what does he do? He takes away your filthy garments stained with sin, and he robes you with a fresh, clean life.

He plucks you as a brand from the fire. And even more, now you're a member of his royal family, you're heading toward eternal life with your king, your Redeemer, your Savior, Jesus Christ, and this still yet future glorious kingdom of Christ on earth. Well, we're out of time for today. Until next time, may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Amen. That was Stephen Davey and a lesson called prophecies of the coming Messiah. We're going to return to the book of Zechariah next time. Stephen is the president of Shepherds Theological Seminary. One of his passions is training and equipping men and women for service to God and that's why he founded that school. If you or someone you know is interested in graduate level theological training, learn more at forward slash STS. And join us next time on this wisdom journey. Amen. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-05 00:37:19 / 2023-05-05 00:42:05 / 5

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