Lent Devotional: Zechariah 8:20-23

by Jonathan Haefs

Zechariah 8:20-23 (click here)
Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD. (Zechariah 8:22)

As God’s people live in exile, a day of salvation is promised…a day of return.

Yet, these promises extend beyond the Jews to all the nations of the world. When God gathers together his people there will now be some from every nation, tribe and tongue.

At the conclusion of the Old Testament, the Jewish nation would experience a small return from exile, but nothing about it would match the great restoration foretold by the prophets. Even the rebuilt temple would fall utterly short of Ezekiel’s grand vision of the temple restored (Ezekiel 40-43)!

Would God actually keep his promises? Could their fulfillment actually look a little different than what people were expecting?

All too often that is exactly the case…God’s fulfillment looks incredibly different than our expectations.

Jesus Christ looked so different from every Messianic expectation…and he would lead a return from exile different from everything that had been anticipated. The temple of his body would be destroyed, rebuilt in three days (John 2:19-22) to become the cornerstone upon which the church would be built (Acts 4:11).

The people of the church would be built together as a temple unto the Lord (Ephesians 2:20-22), and these people would come from every tribe, every nation, and praise Jesus in every tongue!

God always keeps his promises…his word never fails…all too often it simply doesn’t look like anything we would have expected. We can count on God, but that doesn’t mean we can count on him to do things the way we anticipate.

He is the expected-unexpected God.

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.