God’s Jealousy Brings Future Hope: A Rider & Patrolling Horses
Passage: Zechariah 1:7–1:17
Sermon from Zechariah 1:7-17 by Bret Rogers, Pastor
Series: Zechariah: Return & Restoration, Part 2
Delivered on August 9, 2015
We started our journey through Zechariah last Sunday with a message on repentance—returning to the Lord. Without repentance, we will not inherit God’s promises. But with repentance we will inherit God’s promises; we will be saved and restored to a right relationship with the Lord.
Needing Restoration to the Lord
If there’s one thing we all need, it’s restoration to the Lord. Just this week, there were ways I reacted with impatience with my children. There were times when I didn’t want to help those who needed my counsel. There were occasions when I complained about the circumstances I was facing or the things I had to sort out. There were tones in my speech that weren’t helpful. All of it, sin against the Lord. All of it, grieving the Holy Spirit. All of it, hindering vibrancy in my relationship with God.
In some form or fashion, we’ve all blown it. We can all testify to stupid decisions and rebellious attitudes and laziness to pursue good. We need restoration in our relationship with the Lord. God’s word through the prophet Zechariah helps us here. Zechariah tells us of the true God, who—while angry with our sin because of his holiness and love—he is also in the business of restoring his people to himself. And it’s not just that he sits back and waits for them to come his way, he actually comes to them. He’s like the father who runs and embraces his prodigal son. Even though his son squandered his inheritance, the father races to meet him and celebrate his son’s return. So also, the Lord returns to his people with gracious and comforting words of restoration.
Visions as Vehicle for Revelation
Much of this will come through in Zechariah’s eight night visions—we’ll look only at the first vision today. But perhaps a few comments are in order as we approach these visions. First off, we shouldn’t think of these visions in terms of whacky hallucinations in which Zechariah is mentally checked out. The vision is certainly supernatural. It is revelation from God by the Spirit; but it’s not unintelligible craziness. We’ll see throughout that Zechariah is very conscious. He interacts with his interpreting angel; he asks him questions about the visions (1:9, 21; 4:2, 4).
We should see “visions” more appropriately as one vehicle among others that God used to reveal himself. Hebrew 1:1 says that God spoke to our fathers “in many and various ways.” Vision is one way God spoke to the prophets. Notice that before Zechariah says, “I saw in the night,” verse 7 says, “the word of the Lord came.” And if you ask, “Which is it, a vision or a word?” the answer is, “Yes.” The vision is just the vehicle for God’s revelation through word.
Eight Visions Telling One Story
Something else to note before jumping in here: all eight of these visions paint one picture. They all hang together and portray a single story of how God intends to save his people. You can see this just by glancing at the first and last visions, which both mention some patrolling horsemen doing God’s work. It’s just that in the first vision, God’s work to build his kingdom begins, and in the last vision, God’s work finishes. So, visions one and eight form bookends of sorts to this story of God saving his people and establishing his kingdom of peace on earth.
Then, as you move inward to the second and third visions as well as the sixth and seventh visions, you see that God is getting the people out of Babylon by defeating their enemies and gathering them to himself—that’s visions two and three. But he never does this without also getting Babylon out of his people—that’s visions six and seven.
The only two we have left are visions four and five, right in the middle. And in visions four and five, we see that people need their sin and guilt atoned for; and this comes in connection with God’s Spirit working through his anointed priest and king, both of whom anticipate Jesus Christ. So we might summarize the message of Zechariah’s visions like this: God establishes his kingdom of peace by cleansing his people from the enemy within, rescuing his people from their enemies without, and then gathering his people to dwell in his presence—all through the work of his anointed priest-king.
God’s Jealousy Brings Future Hope
Now, from that much bigger picture of the eight visions, we focus today on just one vision—an angelic rider on a red horse and his posse of patrolling horsemen. This vision then becomes the vehicle through which Zechariah sees that God’s jealousy brings future hope for his people. And that future hope is restoration, grace, and comfort in God’s presence. So, let’s walk through this first vision together, starting in verse 7…
7On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, son of Iddo, saying, 8“I saw in the night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse! He was standing among the myrtle trees [by the deep], and behind him were red, sorrel, and white horses. 9Then I said, ‘What are these, my lord?’ The angel who talked with me said to me, ‘I will show you what they are.’ 10So the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered, ‘These are they whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth.’ 11And they answered the angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees, and said, ‘We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth remains at rest.’ 12Then the angel of the LORD said, ‘O LORD of hosts, how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which you have been angry these seventy years?’
A cry for mercy and deliverance
Stop there for a few minutes. These “seventy years” mentioned in verse 12 are a reference to how long Israel’s judgment in exile was supposed to last. Years prior, Jeremiah prophesied that God would banish Israel from their homeland. He would send them into exile in Babylon, and that exile would last seventy years (Jer 25:11-14; cf. Dan 9:2), about the span of a lifetime (cf. Ps 90:10). This was the result of God’s anger over Israel’s sin, as we saw in 1:2.
But something else to remember is that Jeremiah also promised hope for God’s people beyond the exile—even before they entered the exile, there was hope. God’s anger wasn’t going to last forever. His judgment in exile had a stopping point. He wouldn’t forsake his covenant bride ultimately (Jer 3:3-18; cf. Lev 26:44-45; Isa 48:9). So in Jeremiah 29:10-14, he says this.
10For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
That’s Jeremiah’s promise before the exile happened. Now fast-forward a hundred years or so to Zechariah, who is preaching after the exile. Jeremiah’s promise came true. Israel stayed in captivity seventy years and now they had returned home. But the question remained, “Where’s the welfare? Where’s the hope? Where’s the restoration? Where are the fortunes? Where’s the defeat of our enemies?” Even the angel of the Lord wants to know this in verse 12: “how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah?”
You see, this posse of angelic horsemen that we see in verses 8 and 10—they didn’t bring back a very promising report. The idea is that they were sent out by the Lord as scouts to scope out the state of the nations. That’s one thing that makes these horsemen different from the one’s we’ll see later in chapter 6. The ones in chapter 6 are pulling war-chariots (6:1, 2, 6). These horses here don’t have any chariots. That makes them swifter to check out the land before God takes any further action. So, they’re acting as scouts. They survey the world and the world is at rest.
But don’t get the wrong impression. This isn’t a good kind of rest. This is a bad kind of rest. The Lord says in verse 15, “I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease” (cf. Amos 6:1; Ps 123:4; Isa 37:29). The picture is that the world is sitting on its laurels, while the city of the King lies in ruins and God’s people remain vulnerable. The world is living it up without worry or care that their lives oppose the Lord of hosts and oppose his kingdom agenda.
And so the angel of the Lord cries, “How long will you show no mercy?” In other words, “These are your chosen people, God. You made a covenant with them. You chose Jerusalem to be your dwelling place (Deut 12:5, 11; 1 Kgs 8:44; Ps 78:68). Where are you? Where is your mercy? Where is your salvation? Why aren’t you acting yet?”
A vision of God acting to save his people
But this is the entire point of the vision: God is acting. Even if they can’t yet see his kingdom in full, God is acting. God hasn’t forgotten his people and his covenant. In fact, the vision shows that he’s readying himself to fight against the nations on behalf of his people. These angelic scouts have already returned from patrolling the earth. He had already sent them out, even before Zechariah gets the vision. The Lord of hosts’ angel-armies have already initiated part of the Lord’s plan by going out and then returning with the news. And the Lord is pulling back the curtains of heaven just a bit to let Zechariah—and in turn, you and me—in on some of the action.
Something else to note: glance over for just a second to the prophet Haggai, and notice the word that came to Haggai on this very same day—the twenty fourth day—just two months prior to Zechariah’s vision. This is Haggai 2:20-22,
20The word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, 21“Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, 22and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his brother.
Horses represented speed and military domination (e.g., Zech 10:13). In this case, horses represent mighty nations standing in the way of God’s kingdom agenda. We can even think back to the Exodus on this one, when Pharaoh and his chariot armies corner Israel at the Red Sea. The people didn’t stand a chance against the horsemen. But God came to their rescue. Exodus 14:27 tells us, “the Lord threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea;” he drowned the chariots and the horsemen. And now Haggai is basically telling the people, “God’s about to do it again. God’s about to overthrow the horse and its rider once again.”
Then, two months later, Zechariah comes in and adds to Haggai’s message. He picks up where Haggai left off, and Zechariah shows us that God has a few army horses of his own; and the “Black Riders” of this world ain’t got nothing on his angelic posse. They are swift and they reflect the sovereign power the Lord holds over the universe. There’s not a single inch on this planet that escapes their gaze. Nothing flies under their radar. God sees all. He knows all. His armies cover all.
And then on top of that, these horsemen are standing “among the myrtle trees by the deep [ESV reads in the glen, but it’s better translated by the deep].” Two things to note here. Myrtle trees were some of the leafy trees used for building the booths for the Feast of Tabernacles (Neh 8:15; cf. Lev 23:40). The Feast of Tabernacles was designed to commemorate God delivering Israel from Egypt’s tyranny and bringing them into the Promised Land (Lev 23:33-43; cf. Zech 14:16-19). Well, what is one of the main parts of that deliverance from Egypt? Exodus 15:5, casting Pharaoh and his chariots into the deep (cf. Pss 68:22; 69:2, 15; Mic 7:19; Zech 10:11).
In other words, these horsemen among the myrtle trees by the deep call to mind God’s past salvation at the Exodus. In the same way God fought for his people there, he stands ready at the present to fight for them again. Things may look dismal and hopeless and woefully quiet, but he has readied himself for war.
So, with the vision of the angelic rider and his posse of patrolling horses, we’re getting a picture that God is in fact acting to save his people. Israel may not be able to see it yet, but he is acting. His angel-armies are already preparing the troops and crying for God to act on behalf of his people. And it’s within this drama of the Lord’s past faithfulness to save his people, and his present faithfulness to save his people, that we hear the Lord speak a word about his future faithfulness to save his people.
The Lord’s gracious and comforting response
Let’s keep going now in verse 13. This comes in response to the angel’s cry, “How long?”: “And the LORD answered gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me…”
This is just like the Lord, isn’t it? Gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. His people didn’t deserve anything but wrath, yet the Lord comes with words of grace and comfort. Hasn’t he done this with us, too? Doesn’t he come to us with words of grace and comfort in the gospel of Jesus Christ, even when we have blown it again and again? Our God is so gracious to us. Verse 13 again…
13And the LORD answered gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me. 14So the angel who talked with me said to me, ‘Cry out, Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. 15And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little, they furthered the disaster.
The Lord’s jealousy working for his people
Now, that’s a peculiar way of talking, isn’t it? Jealousy? What do we make of this? Well, let’s give it some context. In the Old Testament, God’s jealousy is covenant language. The first time we see it is in Exodus 20:5-6. God makes a covenant with Israel at Sinai; and in the second commandment, he forbids idolatry. And the basis for that commandment is this: “for I the Lord your God am a jealous God” (cf. also Exod 34:10, 14; Deut 4:23-24; 5:2, 9; 6:15; 32:16; Ps 78:58).
Meaning, he is jealous for his people’s exclusive worship. You can be this way when you’re God and the only supremely worthy one. He is jealous for their worship. Moreover, if they belong to him, they can belong to no other. Ezekiel even compares the Lord’s jealousy for Israel as the sort of jealousy a husband has for his bride. Israel belongs to him, and he won’t just wink if she starts flirting with other gods (Ezek 16:38, 42; 23:25). But, of course, Israel does start flirting with other gods. Israel gets in bed with them, so to speak; and God finally has enough and sends her into Babylon. He wasn’t going to let his name be mocked among the nations and pretend like her idolatry was no big deal. His jealousy for her exclusive worship requires him to judge her.
But what we’re seeing here—now after the exile—is that God’s jealousy for his people’s worship is moving him to save her. The same jealousy to uphold his honor that sent them into Babylon, was now the same jealousy that would comfort her. Does that mean he just overlooks her sins? Does that mean he just sweeps her adultery under the rug, like it’s no big deal? Not at all! Rather, it means that he is so jealous for his people’s worship, that he made a way for them to enjoy his worship and uphold his honor in their forgiveness simultaneously.
You see, the Lord’s jealousy for his honor among his people necessitates atonement for their sin if he is not to consume them in jealousy (Num 25:10-13). So, if he’s not willing to consume his covenant people in Babylon—so that they are no more at all, but instead brings out a remnant to comfort and restore them—then it must mean he has designed a way for them to enjoy his worship without fear of being consumed by his jealousy. He can even talk of returning to them, not to consume them but to bless them with his presence and dwell with them in his city.
The Lord’s jealousy working for us through Christ
Brothers and sisters, this is why God crucified his Son, the innocent Jesus Christ, in your place. God’s jealousy for his honor in your life necessitated atonement for your sin if he is not to consume you in jealousy. And he offered up Jesus Christ as that atonement, so that you would not be consumed in his jealousy for all your false worship. All of your sins wiped away by his blood. All the fierce anger you deserved satisfied. All of Christ’s righteousness given to you, all so that your life will forever reflect God’s honor and glory and praise rightly. You may have sins galore staring you in the face, that you know don’t honor the Lord; but God was so jealous for you that he punished your sins on his Son to bring you into his presence and let your life shine with the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward you (cf. Eph 2:7).
In Jesus Christ, God entered into a new and better covenant relationship with you. If you are trusting in Jesus, you belong to God and to no other. And that means that his jealousy no longer works for your destruction—like it will do for all outside of Christ. Rather, it works for your good. It worked for your good on the cross when he took away your sins. It works for your good now as the Spirit drives away your sins and God disciplines you when you’re in the wrong. It will work for your good on the last day when God ends all sin in your life and defeats all your enemies to the glory and praise of his name.
So he was also doing for the remnant in Israel centuries ago. Their sins would fall on Jesus, too, at the cross; and this is why God’s jealousy works now in their favor. Notice again in verse 15 that his jealousy no longer works against his people; God’s jealousy now works for his people. The idea is that the nations took Israel into exile, but the nations went too far in punishing them (cf. Isa 47:5-9). It’d be like you spanking your son for a wrongdoing, and then someone else comes in and starts beating him to a pulp. You mean to save him with your discipline; they mean to destroy him—and you know what kind of jealousy you’d feel for your son in that moment: “your love for your son is so intense it protects him at all costs.”
The Lord’s promise of his presence in a new Jerusalem
This is the way the Lord’s jealousy is working now to deliver and restore his people. The vision of the rider and his patrolling horsemen is all driving toward the revelation of God’s jealousy working for his people. And this jealousy working for his people brings with it their future hope—a new Jerusalem and Zion; unending mercies, prosperity, and comfort; the assurance of God’s presence. Read it with me in Verse 16…
16Therefore, thus says the LORD, I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy; my house shall be built in it, declares the LORD of hosts, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. 17Cry out again, Thus says the LORD of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.
A few things to note here. Notice how many things Israel is doing to make this happen: oh, that’s right, it’s zero! The text says nothing about what they do to bring God’s favor down on Jerusalem. God initiates everything. Restoration always begins with what God does for us; not with what we do for God. Everything that will happen to bring a new Jerusalem will happen by grace, God’s unmerited favor.
Then we have a reference to the Lord’s house in verse 16. The Lord’s house refers to his temple, his dwelling place in Jerusalem, the place he chose to reveal his glory (Deut 12:5, 11; 1 Kgs 8:44; Ps 78:68). And as with the other prophets, references to the temple are often associated with the temple mount itself in Jerusalem and the city of God’s Davidic king, namely, Zion (e.g., Isa 2:1-4; 40:9; Ps 2:6). They go hand-in-hand to give us a picture of God dwelling among his people through the reign of his anointed King. This is the sanctuary-like-city God is promising to rebuild.
And the promise then expands to even greater heights. As God rebuilds his sanctuary-like-city, then prosperity will start to spread out from there to the other cities in Judah as well. The idea is that these cities will gush with goodness (cf. Hebrew of Prov 5:16). And that goodness is finally bound up with God’s comforting presence among his people at the end of verse 17: “the Lord will again comfort Zion.” They will experience comfort from all their enemies, comfort from all their sins, comfort in God’s forever-presence. That’s a big deal when all you can see is apathy and ruin before your eyes.
This is the future hope for God’s people—all of it motivated by God’s jealousy. And if this future hope is motivated by God’s jealousy, then nothing can stand in his way from bringing it to fruition. Isaiah has these glorious texts that talk about the Lord wrapping himself in zeal and rousing himself like a man of war on behalf of his people—this jealousy language—and nothing can stand in his way of establishing his kingship in the temple-city once and for all (Isa 9:7; 26:11; 42:13; 59:17).
Connecting God’s Promises to Us
Now, in some sense, God’s promise to rebuild his house encouraged the people in Zechariah’s day to rebuild the physical temple in Jerusalem. Ezra 6:14-15 even tells us that the Jews built and prospered under the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah, so much so that they finished the temple in the sixth year of the reign of Darius, so about 516 BC. But we mustn’t think that’s as far as Zechariah’s prophecy goes.
A couple places in Ezra and Haggai tell us that even when they finished the second temple, the people wept because it didn’t come close to what Solomon’s temple was like (Ezra 3:12; Hag 2:3). And there was also coming a day when God would once again shake the nations, so that the latter glory of his house would be greater than the former glory (Hag 2:8-9). More than that, the cities of Judah hardly ever overflowed with the prosperity he’s talking about here. And Zechariah 2 says the prosperity would be so great, that you wouldn’t even be able to measure its walls, it would contain so many people from Israel and the nations.
Which means this temple looks forward to another temple, where the glory of God’s presence dwells. The earthly Jerusalem and temple under the Mosaic covenant were only shadows of the true realities under the new covenant in Christ. As I mentioned last week, the Gospel of John tells us that Jesus Christ is the new and greater temple (John 2:21-22). By raising the temple of his body from the dead, Jesus became the new and greater temple. In him is the glory of God fully revealed; in him we meet with God. And when we place our trust in Jesus, we become God’s temple as the church, Ephesians 2:21 tells us; and we become part of the Jerusalem from above as Galatians 4:26 tells us; and we even come to the heavenly Zion, as Hebrews 12:22-23 tell us:
You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
There’s no comfort coming from the blood of Abel. All his blood can say is, “Guilty, guilty, guilty!” Jesus’ blood, though, brings comfort in the words, “Forgiven, forgiven, forgiven!” And that’s the Zion you belong to, when you trust in Christ.
And just like God’s presence assured his people in Zechariah’s day that he would dwell with them in his temple-city, so God’s presence with us today by the Holy Spirit, assures us that God will dwell with us in his temple-city. One day his feet will touch down in Jerusalem, one day his kingdom will stretch from sea to sea, one day the new and final Jerusalem will come, where God himself in Jesus Christ will be our temple (Rev 21:22). And we will dwell with him and he with us; and he will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:3-4).
The sovereign God is always working to save his people
This is our future hope, brothers and sisters. But let us not leave missing a few things about God we must cling to now before that final day comes. Number one, if you’re in Christ, remember that the sovereign God is always working to save his people.
If you’re not in Christ, then God is against you. But you can be in Christ by simply believing his word about Jesus Christ, and giving your life to him. He will have you too if you bend your knee to his Son. And once you’re in Christ, then the sovereign God is always working to save you. Even when you have difficulty seeing his kingdom advancing, God is faithfully working to save his people. This vision from Zechariah should give you hope in the midst of adversity and trial, that God is still on his throne, that God’s angel armies are working, and that God will bring his kingdom of peace on earth.
He will not let the nations sit at ease forever as they slaughter children in abortion clinics, and evil regimes oppress the poor and the widow, and leaders chuck sound principles to gain popularity. God has reserved a Day for shaking the nations and bringing them to their demise, so that every knee will bow and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. When your faith is stymied by the seeming success of evil, let Zechariah’s vision help you see that God doesn’t forget his covenant people. He holds your destiny secure in the New Jerusalem, and the evil world is no challenge for him getting you there.
And even if a few of your trials are the results of your own sin, and the Father is disciplining you for that sin—like he did Israel in the exile—never think for a minute that you’re too far gone to cry out for mercy, or too far away for God to hear you, or too sinful for God to bring restoration. The angel of the Lord doesn’t hesitate to cry out for God’s mercy on his people; how much more should God’s elect sons and daughters covered by the blood of Jesus feel the liberty to cry out for mercy. He promises return for his people, and comes with gracious and comforting words. For you who are in Christ, God’s jealousy is working for you all the time. Your greatest threat already passed in the death of Christ; and now the days of grace work for you. God is always at work to save his people, even the pains he brings drive us back into his loving arms.
God comforts his people when he dwells among them
Secondly, remember that God comforts his people when he dwells among them. Now, the culmination of his comforting presence will come in the new heavens and new earth. But one big reason why we gather as a church is to experience some of that comfort now. We gather now to experience God’s comforting presence through the various gifts and ministries the Holy Spirit gives to his people.
This is what you see in the New Testament: God is a God of comfort, and some of that comfort comes through his people bringing it to each other. For example, Acts 9:31, “The church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” Is it the case that people from all walks of life find Redeemer Church a people of comfort? Do they experience God’s comfort as we interact with them and give them the person of Jesus? The world is offering people all kinds of comfort—in money and false intimacy and a false sense of security. What comfort from their sins are they finding here, and is it the comfort that God has given us in Jesus?
Or 2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” Or maybe one your more familiar with—2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Why does God command us to comfort one another? Because he has comforted us in the Lord Jesus Christ. God comforts us by dwelling among us; so let us gather often to get some of that comfort and give some of that comfort. Pray that our Sunday mornings would be filled with this comfort, and our care groups and women’s meetings and student meetings…and all of our meetings to be filled with this kind of comfort.
Isn’t there a word here for husbands, too? If God is one who comforts his covenant bride, doesn’t this challenge us to bring such comforting words of hope and grace to our wives? Isn’t there a word here for parents, as well—and why Paul says not to provoke your children to wrath, Dads? Our parenting—yes, it will involve discipline for sin, but it must involve comfort as well. We must hold our children after they’re disciplined. We must comfort them with grace after we’ve corrected their wrongs. Our parenting must reflect the way God has treated us. Our God has returned to us with mercy and grace and is jealous to work for our eternal good.
God’s jealousy in Christ ensures that we will make it home
Finally, remember that God’s jealousy in Christ ensures that we will make it home. The intensity of his love for us in Christ will never tire. His commitment to his covenant will never waver. All that is necessary to bring you into the New Jerusalem, he will accomplish—and that was settled for us at the cross, folks. Satan, sin, and suffering will wear you out in this life; death will eventually take your body to the grave. But for all who know Jesus Christ, God is jealous to finish his work in you and bring you into his sanctuary-like-city on the Last Day. The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a guarantee. Immanuel, God with us, he’s with us till the end of the age. Celebrate, for his presence with us now means the new City is all that much closer.