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The Scriptorium

Rest in His Sovereign Care

Come what may, we can be at peace. Zechariah 1.7-11

Return from Exile: Zechariah 1-3 (1)

Pray Psalm 126.1, 2.
When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”

Sing Psalm 126.1, 2.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
When God restored our fortunes all, we were like those who sweetly dream.
Our mouths with joy and laughter filled, made Him our constant song and theme.

Read and meditate on Zechariah 1.7-11.

1. What did Zechariah see in his vision?

2. What did the horseman report?

The people have returned from captivity in Babylon, and, after much delay, they have laid the foundation of the temple. God sent Haggai to convict them of their sloth and neglect, set them back to work, and point beyond their disappointing beginning to the coming glory and blessing of the Lord. Zechariah expanded on Haggai’s preaching and enlarged the vision of the future and hope for God’s people.

God gave Zechariah a series of visions and exhortations to urge the people on in their work and help them to focus on the coming blessings of God. As we work through his prophecy, we must remember what we said about God. He sees all of time all at once. He does not reveal to us all of what He sees, but only as much as will give us hope.

Zechariah’s first vision is of four horses. “These are the ones whom the LORD has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth” (v. 10), to patrol the earth, as it were. We know more about these horses from Revelation 6, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. What is important about this vision is not the details of each of these horses, but that God has sent them, and they perform His will in such a way as that “all the earth is resting quietly” (v. 11). God is in charge. Mayhem, war, famine, economic injustice, and wickedness of every sort abound throughout the world. But these are God’s servants to bring rest and peace to the earth, beginning with those who know Him.

This is the defining vision of the prophet. God is sovereign. All is well. Look not to your present circumstances and disappointments. Look to the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God and rest in Him. Resting in God is the way to overcome captivity, and that includes our present captivity to the ways and allurements of this secular, materialistic, and narcissistic age. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are below (Col. 3.1-3). You may only be able to see them dimly, but even their dimness holds more truth, beauty, and goodness than this world can provide.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
“These are the ones whom the LORD has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth” (Zech. 1.10).

“Yet in Your manifold mercies You did not forsake them in the wilderness.
The pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day, to lead them on the road;
nor the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way they should go.
You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth,
and gave them water for their thirst.
Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing;
their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell” (Neh. 9.19-21).

“The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
and in the night His song shall be with me—a prayer to the God of my life” (Ps. 42.8).

“The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3.17).

He knows us. He sees us. He has got us in His mighty hand. And He loves us.

“He does not reveal to us all of what He sees, but only as much as will give us hope.” He is very careful with us, watching that more is not required than we can safely handle. “Behold, I send an Angel before you…And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you. I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out…” (Ex. 23.20, 28-30). God does everything well, in His time, and by His watchful care.

In His omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Sovereignty.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10.13).

Remember the horsemen of God, with the Angel of the LORD, walking to and fro. “All the earth is resting quietly” (Zech. 1.11). This is how God sees it. We do well when we choose to see it from His perspective.

On the night of our dear Savior’s birth the world, as always, was in chaos. He was born in a stable and laid in a manger of hay. Tyranny ruled. But in God’s purview…

Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin mother and Child, Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night! Holy night! Son of God, love’s pure light,
Radiant beams from Thy holy face, With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.”
(Joseph Mohr, 1818)

“Rest in His Sovereign Care.”

For reflection

1. God is sovereign, so we may live at rest. How can believers encourage one another in this?

2. God is patrolling the world before you today. How will you serve Him?

3. We can be at peace regardless of the chaos and turmoil of our world. Explain.

So now, when Zechariah sees many runners, who have been sent by God to perambulate and to survey the earth, it may with greater certainty be learnt that nothing is carried on without design or by chance in the world, but that all things come before God, and that the manner in which all things occur is set forth by the angels.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Zechariah 1.7-11

Pray Psalm 126.2-6.

Pray that God will increase your vision of unseen things (Heb. 11.1), that you might see with the eye of faith Jesus exalted in glory, saints and angels worshiping Him continually, and Him, riding forth conquering and to conquer day by day. Set your mind on Him, until He is always before you (Ps. 16.8). Call on Him to revive you and send you forth to sow Kingdom seed.

Sing Psalm 126.2-6.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns).
Then the astonished nations said, “The Lord has done great things for them!”
Indeed, great things our God has done, whose Name we praise, Amen, Amen!

Restore our fortunes, Lord our King! Let grace like flowing streams prevail.
All they with tears of joy shall sing who sow while yet they weep and wail.

They who in tears of sorrow sow and cast their seed on every hand,
with joy shall reach their heav’nly home, and bring the harvest of their land.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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