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God’s Measuring Line

The Weights and Measures Division of the US government works to promote uniformity and accuracy. It is easy to see how important weights and measures are to commerce, but accurate measurements are also important for builders. A common proverb among carpenters advises, "Measure twice and cut once."

Zechariah’s third of eight visions was of a man with a measuring line (we would probably call it a measuring tape today). His mission was to measure Jerusalem (v. 2). As soon as this divinely appointed surveyor set out, the interpreting angel ordered Zechariah to run after him with a message about Jerusalem’s future. The scope of God’s promise extends far beyond the immediate project of rebuilding the temple to the Messianic kingdom. They are promises of restoration and peace. They also include an invitation to those who remained in Babylon to flee to Jerusalem (vv. 6–7). Israel’s enemies were God’s enemies (vv. 7–9). He would raise His hand against those who laid their hand upon “the apple of his eye.” Two of the promises are of special interest to the church. One is the promise of God’s presence in verse 10. This promise will be completely fulfilled when the New Jerusalem descends from heaven (Rev. 21:2). The other promise is that the nations will be included among God’s people (v. 11). This promise foreshadowed the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles.

The prophet’s words are a reminder that the hope of Jerusalem is also the hope of the church. Through Christ, those who otherwise would have remained outsiders to the promises of God can be included (Eph. 2:12). Just as Abraham did, they can become friends of God by faith (Rom. 4:16). The church’s Savior is also Israel’s promised Messiah.

Apply the Word

God is still deeply interested in Jerusalem. Psalm 122:6–7 tells us how we can pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” Spend some time asking God for His peace to rule in your life and in our world.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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