Living in Light of the Promise of God’s Presence and Peace
The following is an excerpt from The Gospel Project Bible. The Gospel Project Bible is a new study Bible that leads people to understand basic Bible doctrines, to see how all the Scriptures point to Jesus, and to join Him in His mission of seeking and saving the lost. You can purchase a copy of The Gospel Project Bible at LifeWay.com or at the LifeWay Christian Store nearest you.
In 2011, the residents of Utah experienced a devastating power outage when a windstorm swept through the Rocky Mountains in December, leaving 55,000 residents without electricity for days, exiling many to life-threatening cold. Suddenly only one thing mattered: the return of power.
Having been exiled in a foreign land for 70 years, the Jews breathed a sigh of relief to hear the news Zechariah was spreading: power would return to Mount Zion. No news could have been better, for the presence and peace of God would bring light and restoration to a dark and desolate mountain.
The mountains surrounding Israel had seen the jealous zeal of Yahweh. The summit of Mount Ararat had witnessed the smile of God in the form of a rainbow as Noah and his family stepped onto dry land. The summit of Mount Horeb (Sinai) had seen Moses climb its peak to receive this commandment from God: “You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Ex 20:5). At the base of Mount Carmel, God sent fire from heaven to show the 450 prophets of Baal who was boss (1Kg 18:20-40). God’s jealousy for His people often took the form of wrath, but that jealousy also worked for the good of those He loved.
Perhaps the most favored mountain—Mount Mori- ah—had seen God’s jealous love most clearly. It was on this mountain that God had instructed Abraham, “Take your son…your only son Isaac, whom you love…and offer him there as a burnt offering” (Gn 22:2). Instead of having Abraham offer Isaac, God provided a ram. It was on this very rock that God had once appeared to David and where Solomon began construction on the temple (2Ch 3:1). Mount Moriah, or Mount Zion as it would later be called, became a sacred spot upon which the city of Jerusalem rested. And as the Jews left Babylon to return to this beloved mountain, the jealous love of God led the way. Power had returned to the mountain.
The promised future that God pledged to the Jews is the same promise that you and I can experience. When we put our trust in Christ, we stand on a faith that values the eternal presence of God more than the geographic location He inhabits. Heaven itself is not our ultimate goal—God is.
Hundreds of years after Zechariah prophesied, Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem” (Jn 4:21). No longer is Mount Zion the goal—Christ is, the Rock of Ages. He is to be the object of our affection. Like Abraham, we travel “looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:10), but it’s not the city we are most interested in. It’s the Architect of the city, who floods the streets with His glorious presence.