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The Scriptorium

Holiness to the Lord

This is the fruit of deliverance and salvation. Zechariah 14.16-21

Return from Exile: Zechariah 11-14 (6)

Pray Psalm 93.1, 2.
The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The LORD is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.

Sing Psalm 93.1, 2.
(Trinity: Come, Thou Almighty King)
The Lord in majesty reigns, girded and clothed in strength!
Earth stands secure: Nor shall it e’er be moved;
God on His throne above set it in place with love—
His reign is sure!

Read Zechariah 14.1-21; meditate on verses 16-21.

1. What will the nations of the world do?

2. What will be engraved on bells and pots and bowls?

Zechariah prophesied of future conditions in language and forms familiar to those who heard him in his day. Coming to Jerusalem to worship is what the people of God did. Coming to God to worship is what the nations will do once the Branch begins branching out by His Spirit (v. 16). Those nations and people who refuse to worship God will be left to the consequences of their choices, which in Zechariah’s day could best have been understood by what happened to Egypt when Pharaoh opposed Moses (v. 17-19). Paul is more up-to-date in carrying this word forward to our own time (Rom. 1.18-32).

The effect of the coming Branch and the outpouring of God’s Spirit will be to bring the holiness of God into the everyday details and activities of people lives (vv. 20, 21). This promise echoes what Moses outlined in Deuteronomy 28.1-4, how the blessings of God would pervade all the everyday activities so that the holiness of God’s Law would be evident in all aspects of life.

The fruit of salvation is not simply deliverance from captivity. The people had been delivered from Babylon, but they were to understand that a greater salvation was yet to come. The goal of deliverance is not merely the restoration of familiar forms or practices of religion, such as the “small things” temple the people were building. The fruit of deliverance is branching out to the world with the Good News of the Pierced One and the hope of glory. And the outcome of this Good News is holiness in every aspect of life.

If we are not bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7.1) then we are not fulfilling our reason for being saved (Eph. 2.10). And if this is the case—as it seems very much to be among many Christians today—it is an indication that we are yet captive to the world or the flesh in ways that keep us from realizing holiness to the Lord in all aspects of our lives.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
Someday, even the enemies of God, will worship Him.
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zech. 14.16).
“Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together,
Where the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD,
To the Testimony of Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
For thrones are set there for judgment, the thrones of the house of David” (Ps. 122.3-5).

But as always, it is a matter of the heart.
Outwardly people do and say whatever they think will please men, and maybe even give God a little pleasure. However, they are wrong to think that. God sees into our hearts, and if the hearts He sees are not captive to Him—He knows. We cannot fool Him. Not for a second.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man
according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer. 17.9, 10).
“Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries.
The haters of the LORD would pretend submission to Him, but their fate would endure forever.
He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat; and with honey from the rock
I would have satisfied you” (Ps. 81.13-16).

“If we are not bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God then we are not fulfilling our reason for being saved.” All things, all peoples, should be holiness to the LORD: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7.1).
“…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…” (Eph. 1.4).
“And the LORD spoke…saying, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy’” (Lev. 19.1, 2).
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Pet. 1.13-16).
“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness” (1 Thess. 4.7).

And God in His great kindness and mercy, grace and love, knows that we need help to be holy:
“A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray” (Is. 35.8).

God knows our hearts, and ours will not be deceitful—pretending submission—ours will be truly captivated by Him, with holy intent, walking the Highway of Holiness; and He will make us Holiness to the LORD. It is what we have been saved to be.

For reflection
1. How would you explain the idea of holiness to a new believer?

2. What does it mean to bring holiness to completion in the fear of God?

3. Whom will you encourage in the pursuit of holiness today?

Real holiness shall be more diffused, because there shall be a more plentiful pouring forth of the Spirit of holiness than ever before. There shall be holiness even in common things. Every action and every enjoyment of the believer, should be so regulated according to the will of God, that it may be directed to his glory. Our whole lives should be as one constant sacrifice, or act of devotion; no selfish motive should prevail in any of our actions.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Zechariah 14.16-21

Pray Psalm 93.3-5.
What trials or challenges are you facing? Give them to the Lord in prayer. Call on Him to grant you a greater measure of His salvation today, that you may serve Him with more grace and glory.

Sing Psalm 93.3-5.
(Trinity: Come, Thou Almighty King)
What, though the floods arise, raising their voice to the skies,
strong though they be, God on His mighty throne
drowns out their fearsome drone, hasting to save His own,

Almighty God on high, Your Word can never lie!
Your truth is sure—holy and just are they
who tread Your holy way; Yours shall they ever stay,
Lord, evermore.

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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