“Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, four chariots.” The vehicles that the prophet gazed upon were driven by mighty stallions. They went out “to the four winds of the heaven” after appearing “before the Lord of all the earth.” Jehovah sent some to the superpowers in the north and others to their counterparts in the south. Yahweh’s “strong horses” were “impatient” to set forth on their mission to “patrol the earth.” After receiving the command to “go,” a final word of explanation was given regarding those traveling toward Babylon: They were to “set My Spirit at rest in the north country.” These heavenly steeds would restrain the larger imperial powers there, preventing them from destroying the fledgling efforts of the small community of returning Jewish exiles.
The Word of the Lord accompanying this powerful picture concerned the immediate hope of God’s people. Joshua (the highest religious official at the time) and the figure referred to in Zechariah 3 as “the Branch” would be used by the Almighty to “build the temple of the Lord.” A “man” from God would sit on a “royal throne,” and priest and king would have a “counsel of peace between them both.”
The Jews would not do the work on this enterprise alone. Those who were “far off” would “come and help.” The Lord’s sanctuary would only be completed “if” the covenant community would actually “obey the voice of the Lord.” But would that ever happen? The history of even the most holy of the returned exiles forces us to admit that God’s people have never obeyed Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
The promise of shalom would have to await the provision of a perfect Keeper of the Law. Our Prophet, Priest, and King did the works necessary in order to secure heaven’s blessings for us. The temple that Jesus would build would begin with His own resurrection body and would extend throughout the earth to include all those who put their trust in Him.
The Lord’s church continues to rely on the strength of the Almighty to restrain our own sin as well as those formidable authorities arrayed against His children in every era. We pray for all those in “high positions” in civil realms with confidence that it will be best for all the believers to live a “peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:2-3). We seek the salvation of a great multitude from all over the globe, and we are filled with gratitude for the perfect obedience of Jesus and the gospel of saving grace secured for us by the blood of the cross.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father, You are sovereign over every event in all places and ages. You make Your messengers strong for Your eternal purposes. You will protect Your people, and the earth will know Your almighty justice. Your Son, the Branch, will build His church as a holy temple. Use us in the gathering of this great assembly. We will diligently obey Your voice, O Lord our God.