It was a time of discouragement for God’s people who had returned from Babylonian exile in 536 B.C. and had laid the foundation of the new temple. Twenty years had gone by and Jerusalem was only partly rebuilt and powerful opposition had blocked their progress on rebuilding the temple.
Zechariah was given a message of hope from God to give to them. After the seventy years of judgment they were to come into a time of mercy, blessing and prosperity. Their enemies would be destroyed, as whoever touched God’s own people were touching the ‘apple’ (or pupil) of His eye. God would ‘dwell in their midst’ so they could now ‘sing and rejoice’.
Then comes the staggering announcement that ‘many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people’. The meaning of that statement affects me personally and everyone else who was born a Gentile, not one of the chosen race. God never changed His mind about Israel (or Zion) being chosen as His very own people. He remains true to His covenant relationship with them for ever. ‘And the LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem’ (Zechariah 2:12). God also promised ‘And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst’ (Zechariah 2:5).
Because Jesus died on the cross and made atonement for the sins of the world, everyone has a chance to be included in that covenant relationship, to be a part of God’s own people and also be ‘the apple of His eye’. The apostle Paul explains how Gentiles are shoots of wild olive trees which can be grafted into the main olive tree, Israel, the people of the Covenant. ‘But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you’ (Romans 11:17-18).
When I read the messages of God to His people throughout the Old Testament I can understand that they were spoken to particular situations, but I am also allowed to apply them to myself as a daughter of Zion through my connection in Jesus, the Messiah. It is just as true for me as for Israel that ‘The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing’ (Zephaniah 3:17).
Prayer: Thank You, Father God, that I am grafted into the olive tree and I belong to You. Thank You that Your son, Jesus, has joined me to Your own chosen people and that I am in a covenant relationship with You for ever. Amen.
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