“God-of-the-Angel-Armies will step in and take care of his flock, the people of Judah. He’ll revive their spirits, make them proud to be on God’s side. God will use them in his work of rebuilding, use them as foundations and pillars, use them as tools and instruments, use them to oversee his work. They’ll be a workforce to be proud of, working as one, their heads held high, striding through swamps and mud, courageous and vigorous because God is with them, undeterred by the world’s thugs.
‘I’ll put muscle in the people of Judah; I’ll save the people of Joseph. I know their pain and will make them good as new. They’ll get a fresh start, as if nothing had ever happened. And why? Because I am their very own God, I’ll do what needs to be done for them. The people of Ephraim will be famous, their lives brimming with joy. Their children will get in on it, too—oh, let them feel blessed by God! I’ll whistle and they’ll all come running. I’ve set them free—oh, how they’ll flourish!
Even though I scattered them to the far corners of earth, they’ll remember me in the faraway places. They’ll keep the story alive in their children, and they will come back. I’ll bring them back from the Egyptian west and round them up from the Assyrian east. I’ll bring them back to sweet Gilead, back to leafy Lebanon. Every square foot of land will be marked by homecoming. They’ll sail through troubled seas, brush aside brash ocean waves. Roaring rivers will turn to a trickle. Gaudy Assyria will be stripped bare, bully Egypt exposed as a fraud.
But my people—oh, I’ll make them strong, God-strong! and they’ll live my way.’ God says so!” Zechariah 10:3b-12 (MSG)
Do you remember having to do projects when you were in school? Maybe you had to sew a shirt, build a bird house, or paint a landscape. When I was in school, I had to make a miniature log cabin for a project. As any inexperienced builder would do, I was convinced that I was going to build it myself. As I cut the ‘logs’ out of sizable tree branches, the hot glue gun and moss were my staple supplies. The mini cabin ended up being about a 1 foot by 1 foot square. After spending hours building it, I kept that cabin for years. Because when we build something, we don’t do it with the intentions of tearing it down. The time and effort that is required to build something costs us something. And when we look at our lives, God wants to build something beautiful, even out of the darkest places in our hearts.
After the people had returned from exile, the prophet, Zechariah, along with Haggai, were commissioned by God to get the people to start rebuilding the Temple. In Zechariah chapter 1 and Haggai chapter 1, it set the timeframe during the reign of Darius, king of Persia. As the people returned to Jerusalem, the seventy year exile would have left the homes and land in a desolate state. As they walked down the former streets of Jerusalem, they weren’t met with a “welcome home” parade. They would have seen ruins and tumbled down shacks all around them. They would have to rebuild their homes, their lives, and God’s Temple. There was much work to be done, and the task would have been overwhelming. Yet, God was calling the people to put His work as the priority, and His promise to help them would stand. God was going to use the people to rebuild that which had been broken down. He was going to equip them with courage and strength to look at their current situation and see what would be, not what had been lost. The people returning from exile were not just building something for themselves; they were building their homes and God’s Temple for the next generation, as well.
What is God calling you to build or rebuild this year? A key component in rebuilding ruins is recognizing that God is with you. So, as you look to the past and see the scars of decisions, commitments that were broken, and places that you want to forget, God wants to redeem that which has become a desolate place in your life. It will require courage on your part to allow God to redeem that which has been lost so that He can make it into something beautiful. You most likely are not doing it just for yourself. Your courage to be a part of what God is building in you and around you can stand for generations. There is a blessing that comes into our lives when we are following God with our whole hearts. This is your year to walk in victory and joy, trusting that God will do what only He can do for you. Instead of waiting until it is more convenient, let’s be courageous and vigorous in all that God asks us to build and rebuild this year.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.