As you looked on, a stone was cut out, not by human hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, were all broken in pieces and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Daniel 2:34-35

In preparation for a class I am taking next semester, I have begun rereading the book of Daniel. The last time I read this portion of Scripture in its entirety was during my first year of college at the age of 18. And while it may have only been a little over four years ago, I am a totally different person now than I was then. I may have the same reason for reading Daniel (school), but this time around I am reading with more than just my mind: I am reading with my heart.

This particular passage struck me with hope and awe. One day, all the fallen and miserable kingdoms of this world will end. They will not just fade away, though. They will shatter and crumble beneath the great and coming reign of God. This is not a picture of the old being quietly replaced with the new. It is a vision of the power and supremacy with which God will establish his glorious kingdom. Does this not excite you?

Previously, I was more inclined to favor the idea of God peacefully sweeping aside his enemies, not crushing them with a giant stone and grinding them to bits. However, I must concede that God is not safe (remember Aslan?), and he confronts every one of us with the truth of himself. It may just be that the kingdoms of mankind will only acknowledge him in the face of so great a blow.

God is not just a God of wrath, though. He ultimately destroys the other kingdoms so that his may be established. In his kingdom, there is peace and joy; no pain or strife is present; and we can experience the ultimate union and communion with him. Let us await this coming day–not in fear of God’s judgment but with hope in his making-things-right.

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I’m expecting.

December 16, 2009

God, that is. I’m making room for him just by expecting him to show up. I believe that he will, and I’m watching and waiting.  I don’t know what my life will look like when he comes, but I’ll take anything as long as he’s in it.

I wish I had more to offer you, friends, but I don’t. All I can say is to be on the lookout. Really. He’ll show up, and when he does all the eager expectation will culminate in love and joy.

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.