Children Playing in the Streets Again
As I conclude 2020 I am also concluding my journey through the Old Testament. Today I read Zechariah, which really is a book I have not given enough attention. Zechariah was a young man whose ministry occured during the early years of rebuilding in Jerusalem after the Persian rulers allowed some Jews to return.
They started by trying to rebuild the Temple, but were dissapointed by the early results which were nothing compared with the granduer of Solomon's Temple. Zechariah had a message of encouragment to keep at it, that better times were coming. Instead of having just a pitiful band of people occupying small corners of a ruined city, Jerusalem would one day be teaming with life once again.
This verse stuck out to me as it seemed so relevant for us today:
Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. (Zechariah 8:4-5)
I remember last Spring, when everything closed, that even playground equipment in some parks was taped off. What a sad thing when the joyful sound of children playing is not heard in public. Older folks as well have been told to not gather in public. We may wonder if normal life will ever return... If our public life will come back. I am hopeful that 2021 will be much better, that eventually many things we hold dear will be restored. We need one another, and so I pray that soon we can once again have our streets filled with people of all ages.
Until then I will take encouragement that things take time, the Temple was not rebuilt over night, and our victory over this infectious disease will also take time to unfold, but we will win. More importantly we can all learn from this a picture of human sin: that the human fall has actual detrimental effects which call for a Deliverer or Savior.
I mentioned that Zechariah is a bit neglected in my studies, but one verse is well known because it predicted Jesus arrival in that same Jerusalem which those exiles struggled to rebuild. It's a verse filled with hope just as I am hopeful for the year to come:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)