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Zechariah 1:16-17

Coming With Mercies

16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. 17 Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

"Therefore," God says, "Because my love for Jerusalem and for my people is a zealous love, I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies." Could they have heard anything more comforting? God had returned, not with justice and not with rewards, but with mercies. Had He come with justice, He would have destroyed even the small part that had been restored. And, If He had come with rewards, He would have come empty handed, for all are sinners and deserve no rewards.

But, this zealously loving God comes bearing gifts for the people whom He had had to punish for their wickedness. His justice is fierce, but His love is unconditional and undaunted. Mercy implies that He has forgiven them and is ready to give them more than they justly deserve. "O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever." (Psalms 118:1)

What would it be like to be the recipient of God's mercies? Well, for one thing, He says that His house would be built in Jerusalem. The temple was finished just four years after this vision was given to Zechariah. "And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God." (Exodus 29:46)

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16) Christians can take comfort in the same words. At our conversion, God comes in the person of the Holy Spirit bearing His mercy. We are built up as a spiritual house, and Christ is the head stone. We are a forgiven people who have escaped the Law's condemnations. God has returned to Jerusalem, His glorious church, forever.

He promises that a line shall be stretched forth over Jerusalem. Calvin thought that this is referring to a plumbline as in Isaiah 28:17, but that appears to be a line of judgment. It would be a perfectly straight perpendicular line against which the righteousness of the people are judged the way a building's walls are judged to be straight. That is not the idea here, because God is bringing mercy, not judgment.

In this case the line was probably mentioned as a means for accurately measuring the buildings that were to be rebuilt. It represents urban renewal, a great and prosperous reconstruction of a city that was in ruins. The line was a symbol of the precision and beautiful symmetry of the new buildings over which God would supervise the construction.

Once again, Zechariah is given the commandment to shout the good news to the people (v.17). The word comes again from the zealous LORD of hosts. Notice how He claims His rightful sovereignty. "My cities shall again overflow with prosperity." (ESV) They are His cities, occupied by His people, and He will guarantee their reconstruction and prosperity. This, however, would come according to His schedule, because it was another seventy years after the completion of the temple till the walls of Jerusalem were finished.

Meanwhile, the people would be comforted by His promises and would experience the joy of seeing this prophesy fulfilled.

Before the Throne

Perhaps we should humbly fall to our knees today and thank God for His mercies. If you know Him as your Lord and Savior, you are a recipient of His merciful grace. Ask Him to forgive your apathy towards Him. Pray that he would use you to continue building His house, the church. Ask Him to help you be holy so that His Spirit will have a wonderful temple in which to live.

For Further Study:

(v.16) ** I am. Zech 2:10, 11; 8:3; Isa 12:1; 54:8-10; Jer 31:22-25; 33:10-12; Ezek 37:24-28; 39:25-29; 48:35; ** my house. Zech 4:9; Ezra 6:14, 15; Isa 44:26-28; Hag 1:14; ** and. Zech 2:1, 2; Job 38:5; Isa 34:11; Jer 31:39; 40; Ezek 40:3; 47:3;

(v.17) ** My cities. Neh 11:3, 20; Psa 69:35; Isa 44:26; 61:4-6; Jer 31:23, 24; 32:43, 44; 33:13; Ezek 36:10, 11, 33; Amos 9:14; Obad 1:20; ** the Lord shall. Isa 40:1, 2; 49:13; 51:3, 12; 52:9; 54:8; 66:13; Jer 31:13; Zeph 3:15-17; ** choose. Zech 2:12; 3:2; 2Chron 6:6; Psa 132:13, 14; Isa 14:1; 41:8, 9; Rom 11:28, 29; Eph 1:4;


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