Wednesday, May 4, 2016

In That Day - Enlightened By A Spirit Of Grace, Israel Will Mourn

The Minor Prophets Speak To Today


In That Day: I Will Pour Out A Spirit of Grace and Prayer.



“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died. 
Zechariah 12:10 NLT


Not unique in scripture, God speaks more than once about pouring out his Spirit, or a spirit like the spirit of deep sleep in Isaiah 29:10. And this is not the pouring out of the Spirit so often referenced in Joel 2:28-29:

“Then, after doing all those things,
    I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your old men will dream dreams,
    and your young men will see visions.

Here in Zechariah, the spirit being poured out is a spirit of grace and prayer and it is not being poured out on people who have repented, people who have been converted, as we like to apply it.

In fact, there is only one point that these two passages, these two pourings out of spirit share - the word "then" and its implied/stated after all these things.

After --
  • The nations get drunk with the desire to take Jerusalem.
After --
  • The nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to besiege Jerusalem.
After --
  • God makes Jerusalem an immovable rock.
After --
  • These nations hurt themselves as they hurl their full forces against that rock.
After --
  • God makes horses and war machines panic and their riders lose their nerves.
After --
  • These forces are blinded by the strength God give an as yet unbelieving Israel.
After --
  • The neighboring nations are all burned into fine grey ash.
After --
  • The Lord Himself defends Jerusalem and Judah to the total surprise and awe of Israel.


  • God will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and the people of Jerusalem.



After God pours out this Spirit of grace and prayer on Israel, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Israelites, the Jews of the Diaspora, perhaps those of us who comprise the New Israel through faith --
  • The people will mourn and grieve bitterly as they look on Jesus (the 'me' in this passage) and finally realize who it is they have pierced.
  • They will mourn for him as for an only son (which he is).
  • They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died. Thrown out of the vineyard and killed by those who claimed his Father's inheritance.




And this is not normal sobbing or sorrow nor masculine stoic bucking up in the face of grief. This is a mourning that much of the world no longer feels or expresses.

The only thing the Lord compares it too is the the great mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. The mourning for the one king of whom it is said, 

Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since. 2 Kings 23:25 NLT
This will be like mourning for the leader who brought the people out of slavery to sin and idolatry, cleansed the land, and reintroduced Israel and Judah to the worship of the One True God. I do not know if you can feel the depth of that in an age where individualism has swept the world, but it was an unprecedented change not even matched by the great king David. Meditate on it.

But this was also more than the death of a beloved King. In a turn so human it hurts, King Josiah is killed for disobeying a message sent from God. Here is the story from 2 Chronicles 35 and 2 Kings 23:
20 After Josiah had finished restoring the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led his army up from Egypt to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah and his army marched out to fight him. 21 But King Neco sent messengers to Josiah with this message:
“What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I am on my way to fight another nation, and God has told me to hurry! Do not interfere with God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.”
22 But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo. But King Neco killed him when they met at Megiddo. 

This unneeded death cut off the hope of Israel right at the height of their restoration, in the middle of a time of sweeping change under the direct control of God. And the morning over the place and manner of his death remains so devastating that it is enshrined in the lamentations and songs of Israel.

In that day, enlightened by a spirit of grace, and kindled by the spirit of prayer, Israel will mourn like a people standing under the full condemnation of the God who just, despite their spite and their killing of his Son, saved them in a manner that made the whole world stand up, or should that be bow down, at the display of his power. An understanding that they, even more than the nations around them should have been incinerated to gray ash.

A mourning akin to terror. A serious awareness, by the work of the Spirit of grace, of the reality of their betrayal and what it cost God Himself! A mourning unknown among even the Christians of our present age. An emotion lost in the annals of history!

So serious is this awareness that no one will issue a call to mourn, no call go out to gather together and implore God. A mourning filled with so much shame that the people can only stand to weep together within their close knit extended families. 

A mourning so all consuming that the men withdraw themselves from the women and the women withdraw themselves from the men - lest the comforts of the marriage bed not tempt them nor the duties of daily life itself.

Cut off in every way from the consolations of marriage,
They will mourn! 

Photo Credits:
Pour by chris glein, some rights reserved
pour by Nell Tackaberry, some rights reserved

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