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fire around and glory within...

"I will be a wall of fire around it, and I will be the glory within it." - God, Zechariah 2:5


And there you have it...quite possibly, scratch that, absolutely the best sentence in the Bible. Zechariah was a prophet and priest in the time of Israel's restoration from the Babylonian captivity. Fittingly enough, his name means "the Lord remembers". Israel, because of their sin, had suffered for years under the hands of their oppressors, exiled, murdered, left to become nothing. But because of God's promises of restoration, the exiles were not abandoned forever and eventually went back to Jerusalem to start rebuilding the temple. In walks Zechariah, one of the most eschatalogical of books in the Bible (in my opinion) and a beautiful picture of the reign of Jesus as King. Through a series of visions, God reveals to Zechariah His purpose for Israel...His love for Israel...His encouragement to Israel...His grace towards Israel...His faithfulness to Israel. And ultimately, the fulfillment of all of these towards us, through His Son.


Zechariah 2:5 lands in the midst of the third vision: An angel has a measuring line and is determing its width and length. But another angel comes and tells Zechariah that Jerusalem will be without walls because of the amount of people in it...it will be so large that a temple will not be able to contain everything. Do you see it? Why would the angel measure if another angel comes and tells him it cannot contain everything? God's message to Zechariah - this temple being rebuilt was temporary and this was not the ultimate fulfillment of His promises. God's promise of restoration would expand much further than just this city (even in the Old Testament God was including us). God's promise of restoration would be fully realized in His future earthly kingdom. God, would be the fire around, the divine protection, and the glory within, the divine presence, in their lives. He would cover them with His wings, He would shield them with His Word, He would give them true hope.


I have read Zechariah 2:5 at a minimum, a hundred times in the past few days...and still, I can't wrap my mind around it. I suppose it is because it encompasses all of life in one sentence. It encompasses hope, love, the present, the future, grace, peace, comfort...on and on it goes. In a time when hope is hard to find, fear creeps in more often than not, anxiety plagues the heart and mind, when desperation seeps into our bones...this is the time when we must remember that He alone loaned us His breath. From the first one we took, and every time we breathe in and breathe out...it is a reminder of His love and His faithfulness in a world that is hurting. We are not promised our next breath, and should that breathe leave our lungs, our ultimate hope would be fulfilled. Because hope is for more than just a moment, just a life well lived, just for the day, for the hour...oh how I wish we truly understood hope. Hope is this longing for something bigger, something greater, something that in the solitude of the night we remember that His fire surrounds us and His glory is within us...this is the something bigger and the something greater...He will return and rebuild, and this is a hope that is everlasting that casts fear and anxiety right out the door.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - That perches in the soul - And sings the tune without the words - And never stops - at all. (Emily Dickinson)


May we never lose sight of true hope.


"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth...a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God..."Look, God's dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them." Revelation 21:1-3

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