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City of God

Every year magazines like Money, Kiplinger, and U.S. News & World Report publish lists of the best places to live. They make their choices based on a variety of factors, including income rates, crime, taxes, and even the number of days of sunshine per year!

If such a list were made during the thousand-year reign of Christ, one city would always make it to the top. Today’s reading describes the exaltation of Jerusalem over all the other cities on earth. This will literally be true as the topography of the region surrounding Jerusalem changes (v. 10). Mountainous regions will become a plain like the Arabah, which is the lowest spot on earth. Jerusalem will be “raised up high” and secured permanently (vv. 10–11). Jerusalem will attract worshipers from all over the world. Indeed, they will be compelled to go up to Jerusalem (v. 16). In vv. 12–15 Zechariah returns to the scene of the last battle as he describes the consequences of defeat for Jerusalem’s enemies. Their fate will parallel that of the Egyptians when Pharaoh opposed Moses or Sennecharib when his army besieged Jerusalem (Ex. 7–12; 2 Kings 19:35). This description of punishment is a sobering reminder of how dangerous it is to reject God. We now live in an age where God graciously invites those who have rejected Him to repent and turn to Christ. We should not misinterpret God’s patient waiting as disinterest or indulgence when it comes to our sin. As the prophet Isaiah says, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isa. 55:6–7).

Apply the Word

Is God your friend or your enemy? Only those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ may call God their friend. If you would like to talk to someone about Jesus Christ, call (800) NEED HIM. Don’t hesitate to make this call! It could change your life!

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 Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), 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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