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This new year has turned out to be not so new after all. The same old hatred, violence, and greed for power and dominance continue as usual. The same old mankind, ever falsely believing, and hoping in its own goodness to make things better, is hopelessly in need of God but does not know it.
We are grateful that something else has not changed this year, God's sovereignty, God's faithfulness, and God's goodness. Thank God!
He continues as ever to unfold His plan for this earth. He will not leave the earth, or mankind for that matter, forever in the hands of man. He is working providentially to fulfill His purposes on the earth, and that also means Israel. He reigns!
Thus says the Lord
For our prayers, we considered the ten "thus says the Lord" declarations in Zechariah 8. They unfold the amazing and marvelous power and goodness of God. You will have to read chapter 7 to understand the flow of the mind of God in this chapter, and you might as well read beyond chapter 8 to see where it is going.
I am jealous for Zion (Zech 8:2-3)
God is "red hot" and determined deeply to return to His chosen abode to dwell amongst His people.
Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city (Zech 8:3)
When was Jerusalem ever a faithful city? But this is her destiny. It is only possible when Messiah will rule in our midst.
- We deeply acknowledged our need of Messiah
- We owned up to our unfaithfulness to Him, as a nation
- We acknowledged our rejection of Messiah
- We cried out to the Lord for the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon Israel, in great conviction, in a tremendous, overwhelming flood of grace to bring about a brokenness of heart that acknowledges our rejection of our King and Savior
- We recognized this has to be the work of God, and that our nation is unable to produce this turning by ourselves. We cried out to God, to do the impossible. (Zech 8:6)
Old men and old women,,, boys and girls will fill the streets… I will bring them from east and west (Zech 8:7)
Looking at Israel today, we may miss the wonder of its restoration. But looking back in history, even 150 or 200 years ago, the land was desolate, and the Jewish people were hopelessly and helplessly at the mercy of the nations, they resided in.
But there is more here. Jerusalem is called the Faithful City, the Holy Mountain. This means not only a people returned, but a people transformed! A holy people, a people, reconciled to their God in Messiah.
- We thanked God for the wondrous restoration of Israel to the land, it is all His Work, it is all His faithful fulfillment of His Word and Promise
- We asked the Lord "turn us, and we shall be turned, restore us, and we shall be restored
- We cried out to God for this wondrous work of the physical restoration of the Jewish people to their land
- We prayed for these words to be fulfilled to the fullest, to fill the land with a transformed people who rejoice in their Messiah and King.
- We asked the Lord to break through the bondage of a religion that relegates Yeshua to being a blasphemer instead of acknowledging His Messiahship
- We asked the Lord to break through the culture bondage that has kept Yeshua out!
- We prayed for a greater fulfillment yet, of the ingathering of His people to the land
As I have plotted disaster to you….so again I have plotted good to Jerusalem (Zech 8:14-15)
The word "purposed" (ESV) in those verses is a word that means to plot. Usually that word is used in a negative way, but here it is God who is plotting! And His purpose is to plot good! The sense is that 'with resourcefulness and discretion, God will (is) carry on His plan. It is all there, plain as can be for anyone to see, in scripture, but it is hidden from man who is blinded by his own wickedness and rebellion against the Lord and against His anointed (Psalm 2)
- We prayed for the Lord's plots to be carried out in great success
- We prayed for the goodness of God (in Messiah and in His cross) to overwhelm every evil plot of the enemy who is dead set on our destruction
- We prayed for the providence of the Lord to guide His mercies and grace to their ultimate goal (Hab. 2:14)
We prayed briefly into the new situation regarding Iran in light of those verses.
We prayed in light of His eternal plan, and in light of the prophecies of Zechariah.
We see God's sovereign hand in the affairs of the world, and in the Middle East in particular. The Lord may be "dragging" the US into the fray to help Israel handle Iran. Everything is too fresh right now to make assessments, and we all need the patience to see how things will develop. Meanwhile, we can continue to pray into the Will of God as it is made plain in the scriptures regarding all of these things, and then, we must wait for wisdom and light, rather than rush to predict or find a verse or two that might fit into the situation.
We prayed briefly for the (third) coming elections in March.
Dear friends, the one most important thing that needs to change is you (and me). And the only real agent of change is the Lord.
2Cor. 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Perhaps, this year can be a New Year for us after all, if we turn to Him, and if we behold Him, and if we yield to the Holy Spirit as He transforms us from the inside out, till we shine, transformed and conformed to His image. (Romans 8:29)
Blessings from Jerusalem,