Joy Wherever the Lord Dwells

December 9, 2009

The word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts shall be called the holy mountain. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with a staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the Lord of hosts?
Zechariah 8:1-6

Now, let’s be clear from the beginning: I am not one of those who takes promises specifically for Israel and applies them to the Church. I think, at best, it shows a poor understanding of Scripture, and at worst, it is presumptuous and self-centered. That said, I think there is something beautiful in these promises that points us to the Lord’s goodness.

In Zechariah 8:1-6, God promises to bring life back to Jerusalem, his home. From all the places to which he had scattered the Israelites, he promises to gather them back to live in joy and peace. He is just, to be sure, but he also shows great mercy and grace. (I can tell you firsthand that this is true!)

Think about the sweetness of this picture of the Father’s love. Old men and women, who thought they would die in foreign lands, are back home again. Imagine the overflowing gratitude in their hearts to have been brought back here. They can spend their last days in peace and contentment.

Children are again free to enjoy their youth. They won’t be worried about the things of captivity. No, they will run and play and laugh–oh, how they’ll laugh! And the old men and women will look on with smiling eyes.

The Lord promises to make his home in Zion. He will dwell with his people; he will be their God. And wherever he is, there is joy.

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