1This time I saw someone holding a measuring line, 2and I asked, “Where are you going?”
“To measure Jerusalem,” was the answer. “To find out how wide and long it is.”
3The angel who had spoken to me came toward me, when another angel came up to him 4and said, “Hurry! Tell that man with the measuring line that Jerusalem won't have any boundaries. It will be too full of people and animals even to have a wall. 5The Lord himself has promised to be a protective wall of fire surrounding Jerusalem, and he will be its shining glory in the heart of the city.”
A Call to Action
6The Lord says to his people, “Run! Escape from the land in the north, where I scattered you to the four winds. 7Leave Babylonia and hurry back to Zion.”
8Then the glorious Lord All-Powerful ordered me to say to the nations that had raided and robbed Zion:
Zion is as precious to the Lord as are his eyes. Whatever you do to Zion, you do to him. 9And so, he will put you in the power of your slaves, and they will raid and rob you. Then you will know that I am a prophet of the Lord All-Powerful.
10City of Zion, sing and celebrate! The Lord has promised to come and live with you. 11When he does, many nations will turn to him and become his people. At that time you will know that I am a prophet of the Lord All-Powerful. 12Then Judah will be his part of the holy land, and Jerusalem will again be his chosen city.
13Everyone, be silent!
The Lord is present
and moving about
in his holy place.
It is with a great sense of relief that the returned exiles heard that God will restore the Temple and establish it in an environment of security and prosperity (1:16-17). But then, in a vision, Zechariah sees a building official with his tape measure, and he is surveying more than the footprint of the Temple. He is mapping out the whole city. What kind of building project have the people of God got themselves into?
In our passage for today we learn that the Lord’s program goes beyond the walls of the Temple; beyond the walls of the city, even. In fact, the city will have no walls, for otherwise it could not take in all the people flocking to it with their belongings (2:4). And what accounts for the influx? It is the Lord himself, whose glorious presence both attracts and protects the city’s inhabitants (v.5). God’s plans are always greater than ours.
In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis invites us to imagine God as a contractor undertaking the job of renovating our lives. We are not surprised when He starts to repair the things that are broken, but we become alarmed when He begins to replace other parts of us with features that are new, strange and grand. Lewis explains, “You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
What is true for Jerusalem and for us is also true for the Church. “City of Zion, sing and celebrate! The LORD has promised to come and live with you,” exclaims the prophet to those in Judah (2:10). The Apostle Paul now says to us, “All of you surely know that you are God’s temple and that his Spirit lives in you” (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Lord All-Powerful, who is present and moving in our lives, help us so to proclaim your glory, that many will turn to you and be joined to your Church without walls. Amen.