God Reverses the Curse to Dwell with the World: A Man with a Measuring Line
Passage: Zechariah 2:1–2:13
Sermon from Zechariah 2:1-13 by Bret Rogers, Pastor
Series: Zechariah: Return & Restoration, Part 4
Delivered on August 23, 2015
We turn now to the third of eight visions, given to the prophet Zechariah. And as I’ve said before: each vision interlocks with the other, such that these eight visions tell a single story. The first vision gave us part of the story: God, in his jealous love for his people—he promises to return and restore them to himself in a future, new temple-city. The second vision then adds to the first: God wouldn’t just build them a new temple-city, he would also destroy every enemy that stood in the way of building that temple-city.
What we get today is a further description of the new temple-city that God promises to build. If you glance back to verse 16, vision one only introduces us to God’s major construction project. All we’re told is that his house will be built and a measuring line would be stretched out over the city. Vision three now expands on the stretched-out measuring line; and the meaning behind this measuring line becomes one of the most remarkable pictures of God’s glory and his grace to sinners. At the risk of reduction, we might summarize vision three like this: God reverses the curse to dwell with a world of people in his holy city.
Part One: A Man with a Measuring Line
This third vision unfolds in two parts, followed by three exhortations. Let’s begin by unpacking the vision in its two parts. Part one of the vision comes in verses 1 and 2. Zechariah sees a man with a measuring line. Verse 1…
1And I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand! 2Then I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.”
Some of us may not have grown up around the steps involved in construction, but even today building projects often begin with a measuring line—a long chord of sorts that surveyors use to mark off boundaries. Likewise, in the Old Testament, a measuring line was used in building the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kgs 6:25; 7:9, 11, 37), or even the walls around Jerusalem (Neh 3:11, 19, 20). It was a hopeful sign—to see the line go out meant the time to build had come.
But the measuring line could also be a sign of grave judgment. In a couple of places, God stretches out a measuring line over Israel, not to build the city but to divide it up and destroy it. Lamentations 2:8 says, “The LORD determined to lay in ruins the wall of the daughter of Zion; he stretched out the measuring line; he did not restrain his hand from destroying; he caused rampart and wall to lament; they languished together” (Amos 7:17). Israel presumed on God’s grace. They thought, “Hey, it doesn’t matter how bad we get, God’s surely not going to destroy his city” (cf. 2 Chron 36:15-16; Jer 27:14). But God did destroy the city in judgment; and off they went to exile—the temple, the walls, all of it lying in ruins.
But that wasn’t the end of God’s people. Even before going into exile, God also promised that once the judgment was finished, he’d bring back a remnant and rebuild the city (cf. Isa 48:10). Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel promised a day when the measuring line would once again go out, this time to build and not to destroy (Jer 31:39-40; Ezek 40:3-5). The exile is now over, Zechariah sees a man going out to measure the city. But would it be for judgment or blessing?
Part Two: An Angel Reveals the Glory-City
That brings us to part two of this vision, verses 3-5. Zechariah next sees an angel, who says the measuring line is going out for blessings beyond anybody’s wildest dreams. Verse 3…
3And behold, the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him 4and said to him, “Run, say to that young man [i.e., Zechariah], ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. 5And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”
So you’ve got this interpreting angel—the one who’s been telling Zechariah what all these visions mean (1:9, 14, 19)—he goes out, presumably to see what this man with the measuring line is up to. But before he gets there, he’s met by another angel, presumably returning from the man. And this new angel has a message from the Lord himself that explains what the man with the measuring line is all about.
And it’s a message that’s urgent—“Run!” Not for one second does he want Zechariah to misunderstand the nature of what’s going on. He’s not measuring the city for judgment, he’s measuring the city for blessing. He’s delivering good news to Zechariah about the future of God’s covenant people—and as we’ll see in a few minutes, that future includes you and me, if we’re in Christ.
A city overflowing with people and livestock
First off he says, “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls.” That’s a strange way to encourage somebody sitting in the middle of a destroyed city that currently has no walls because the enemy tore them all down. Walls normally mean security, protection (Isa 2:15; 22:10; Jer 1:15). Why build a city without walls? Aren’t you just inviting defeat? No, no, this city won’t have any walls because it won’t be able to contain all the people and livestock (more literally, “man and beasts”).
This pairing, “man and beasts” is significant. We see it first in Genesis 1:24-27. It’s a picture of God’s original created order—man exercising his dominion rightly on the earth, including his dominion over the beasts in an abundant garden-paradise. And so it makes sense, that to have cities full of man and beasts meant blessing.
But it also meant that having man and beasts stripped from your city meant judgment (cf. Gen 6:7; Exod 8:17; 12:12; 13:2). And later, this judgment falls on Israel for breaking covenant with God. When they go into exile for their idolatry, Jeremiah 7 and 21 say that God pours out his wrath on man and beast (Jer 7:20; 21:6). Ezekiel says that God strips the land bare to bring famine on the city; and the result is the cutting off of man and beast (Ezek 14:13). Cutting off man and beast signified desolation and emptiness and curse (Jer 32:43; 36:29; Ezek 25:13; 29:8; Zeph 1:3).
But, amazingly, at the same time Jeremiah and Ezekiel were promising this cutting off of man and beast, they were also teaching the remnant to look to God’s future restoration. The city may be cursed now, but here’s your hope, remnant: God promises you a new covenant, in which he will reverse the curse of exile for you. And when he brings that new covenant, here’s what it’ll look like. It’ll look like restoring his people in a new kingdom under the rule of a new David; and in his future earthly kingdom, man and beast would flourish on the earth. This gets laid out in Jeremiah 31:27 and 33:6-16 and Ezekiel 36:11 (cf. Isa 11; 65; Zech 14:20-21).
Zechariah now builds on those previous hopes. God’s new city would so flourish with people and livestock, there’s no sense in building walls; the bounty keeps going out and out and out and out—almost as if the new temple city eventually swallows the earth. This was another way of God saying that he hadn’t forgotten his promises. He was keeping them. Even if they couldn’t yet see his kingdom in full as they’re piling on the bricks and mortar in a ruined city, God would eventually fulfill his promises to his people. And the temple they were building in Zechariah’s day was to be a sign, a pointer to a future temple-city not built by human hands, but whose designer and builder is God (cf. Heb 11:10), where the land is plentiful and the people many.
A city where God is the protection and the glory
The Lord then gives another reason why the city wouldn’t need any walls: “I will be to her a wall of fire all around…and I will be the glory in her midst.” The city wouldn’t need walls because God himself would be its security, its protection. And a couple of things come together with this imagery, teaching us that God wasn’t just interested in reversing the curse of exile. The new city would also mean that, for those who belonged to the Lord, he was even reversing the curse of the Fall—separation from God (cf. Rom 3; 5; Gal 3).
Here’s what seems to be happening. The imagery of fire—it fits rather nicely with the virtue of God’s jealousy we discussed already in 1:14. In the Bible, God’s jealousy manifests itself as a consuming fire. Deuteronomy 4:24, “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” His fire burns without dependence on any outside resources; it burns as a self-sustaining flame, and judges anyone who calls his honor into question (cf. Exod 3:2; Deut 5:24; Ps 79:5; Heb 12:28-29).
With that in mind, if we go back to Genesis 3. Adam’s sin separates humanity from the presence of God in the Garden. And after cursing the woman and the man, Genesis 3:24 says, “God drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” God’s holy fire actively banished sinners from his Garden-paradise. But what do we get here in the vision of Zechariah. It’s a reversal of the curse: God’s holy fire actively surrounds his people, and they’re now dwelling in his presence. The jealous fire that once banished them now protects them.
On top of that, the pairing of fire and glory also recalls the exodus. God’s glory is when his intrinsic worth goes public. And in the exodus, the Lord manifests his glory to Israel in the pillar of fire leading them out of slavery (Exod 13:21), protecting them at the Red Sea (Exod 14:24), and then dwelling among them in the tent of meeting (Exod 40:38). But in this new city, the Lord’s glory isn’t limited to a tent; it fills the city. The entire city becomes the holy of holies. In this city, God’s intrinsic worth goes public from the center—“glory in your midst”—all the way to the edges—“wall of fire all around.” His glory-presence fills the city, in other words. And like the glory-fire burned to protect Israel in the exodus, so here it constantly works for his people’s good.
A city populated through the work of Christ
What a remarkable vision for the people returning from exile. They see much of the city still lying in ruins. They remember the last seventy years of exile. Desolation all around; vulnerability to foreign oppressors—all for what reason? Idolatry, exchanging the glory of God for whatever the world offered them. They know what they deserve—judgment. The exile taught them that. Yet here the people see God showing mercy, doing the impossible for them. He replaces the desolation with true abundance. He replaces their vulnerability with true protection. He reverses the curse that they might dwell in his presence. He changes the world of idolatry into a city of glory.
Doesn’t God come to us this way in Christ? We read of his holiness and judgment in Scripture. We learn from Israel what we deserve for our sins—judgment. But then God shows us mercy, doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. Replacing the wastelands created by our sins with an oasis of his glory in Christ. Isaiah makes many of the same connections we see here in Zechariah. But Isaiah goes further and tells us how the Lord’s new temple-city gets populated. God washes his people from their sins through the work of his Messiah. Isaiah 4:2-5 says,
2In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. 3And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, 4when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy.
Again, the picture is of God’s glory-fire covering the temple-city, and there’s this wedding canopy covering God and his redeemed bride forever (cf. Ps 19:5; Joel 2:16). And all of this is made possible through the Lord’s Branch, Jesus Christ. We only deserve banishment from this city. We only deserve the Lord’s glory-fire to consume us outside the city. But because of the cross of Christ—because God’s judgment fell on Jesus in our place—God’s glory-fire now encloses us for protection, not condemnation. If you trust in Christ today, you too will experience the glory of this city, when Christ comes again to establish it on the earth. He’s talking about the kingdom to come and the New Jerusalem in Revelation 19-22. Zechariah runs us all the way to the end.
Three Exhortations: Flee, Rejoice, and Hush
That’s the main vision in two parts. Now, we come to three exhortations in our passage; and all three of these exhortations grow out of the vision of this new Jerusalem just painted for us. The vision of the future affects life in the present for God’s people. We’ve seen the future destiny—New Jerusalem—and how God gets everything to that destiny has massive implications for the way you and I live in the here and now. And so we’re given three exhortations: flee, rejoice, be silent.
Flee, because Babylon is doomed
So, first of all, let’s look at the exhortation to flee. Verse 6 and following…
6Up! Up! Flee from the land of the north, declares the LORD. For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, declares the LORD. 7Up! Escape to Zion, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. 8For thus said the LORD of hosts, after [the] glory [he] sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye. 9Behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me.
So basically, Flee, because Babylon is doomed. At this point, a significant number of Jews had returned from exile, but not all of them. Some were still scattered abroad—much like the Lego blocks are often still scattered abroad in our house after the end-of-the-day return. Some of God’s people are still scattered among the oppressive nations; and Babylon at this point becomes a code-word for those existing oppressive nations. Historically speaking, Babylon had already been sacked by Persia under the rule of Cyrus in 539 BC. Zechariah is preaching 19 years after that under the reign of another Persian king, Darius (Ezra 4:5; Dan 5:31; Zech 1:7).
But he still uses the name Babylon as a type for all the nations, who oppose God and oppress God’s people. That’s the story from beginning to end in our Bibles. The forerunner to Babylon was the tower of Babel in Genesis 11 (cf. “Shinar” in Gen 11:2; Dan 1:2), and then Revelation picks up the same code-word, Babylon, to speak of the city of Rome for first-century Christians.
So Babylon becomes a type signifying the nations that oppose God and oppress his people. He doesn’t care where God’s people are scattered, or in what century they’re scattered, he’s telling them not to grow comfortable in Babylon.
Then he tells us why: God is about to fight for his precious people in another exodus-like judgment on the nations. Remember with me for just a minute why God judged Egypt in the first place. He judged Egypt, because he wanted his son free—Israel is my firstborn son; let him go that he may serve me (Exod 4:22-23). And then came the plagues on Egypt, and Israel plundered them (Exod 3:22; 12:36).
So also in verses 8 and 9. God’s people are precious to him—“he who touches you touches the apple of his eye.” That’s covenant language from Deuteronomy 32:10—God encircled Jacob, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye (cf. Ps 17:8). So, learning from the first exodus, you can guess what he’s about to do next—judge the nations: “Behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them.”
Folks, this is one of the steps in bringing God’s new temple-city. God will judge Babylon, the wicked world. In fact, he has already sealed Babylon’s fate in the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Right before Jesus died he said, “now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). And we’re also promised in Revelation that Babylon—the great city that deceives the nations and fills its streets with the blood of the prophets and the saints—will be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more (Rev 18:22). The smoke will rise from her forever and ever (Rev 19:3). In other words, Babylon is doomed.
The world that opposes God is a sinking ship. Only one city will be left standing on the last day, God’s city. God’s word calls us to flee the evil of the nations. It calls us to escape the allurements of this present life, not to settle-in to the comforts of the evil age. Why? Because it’s doomed.
The world around us is like a “spiritual red light district,” to use the metaphor of Jim Hamilton (Revelation, 333). It entices us with its glamour and cosmopolitan façade. It pretends to offer us security with more money, permanent job positions, perfect home defense system, a breakthrough in medicine, concealed handgun licenses—or on the other side, increased gun control. Politicians promise security from the NSA, security in healthcare reform, security at the borders.
And while Christians ought to speak justice and mercy into these situation, we dare not set our hopes here. Babylon is doomed. Babylon has never brought true security. It will fall, and bring all kinds of people with it. You can read of them in Revelation 18. Kings and politicians, business owners and farmers, merchants and musicians, shipmasters and sailors, craftsmen and married couples—all who put their trust in Babylon fall with Babylon. And if your mind isn’t in tune with God’s word, you won’t be able to tell the difference. You’ll just go along for the ride till destruction falls. If your security isn’t found in the Lord alone, then you will fall with the world.
Therefore, flee her wicked city walls and come to Zion, where God will be your eternal security. Don’t flirt with Babylon if Zion is your city. The world will keep feeding you the lie that more happiness is to be found the pleasures it offers, and to flee its pleasures is to flee joy. Isn’t this what’s behind every temptation we face? To walk away from the world’s pleasures is to walk away from joy—isn’t that how the flesh talks to us? But the next exhortation makes very clear, that couldn’t be further from the truth. To flee the comforts and pleasures and seeming securities of Babylon doesn’t mean less joy but more joy. Why? Because God is in Zion, and at his right hand there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore—Psalm 16:11 says.
Rejoice, because Zion is growing and God is there
So we move now to exhortation number two: rejoice, because Zion is growing and God is there. Let’s read it together. We’re looking here at more pieces in God’s plan to bring the new temple-city we saw earlier; and they have implications for your life. Verse 10…
10Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. 11And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. 12And the LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.
Now, earlier we were told the new city wouldn’t have any walls, because of all the multitude of people and livestock in it. What we get here is the how-that’s-actually-going-to-happen part—“many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people.” “In that day” looks to the future. And this language of “joining themselves to the Lord” (Isa 56:3; Jer 50:5) and “they shall be my people” (Jer 24:7; 31:1, 33; 32:38; Ezek 37:23, 27; Zech 8:8)—it’s all covenant language.
The Lord is telling the Jewish remnant in Zechariah’s day that a future day is coming when all kinds of Gentile nations will become part of God’s covenant people. And in doing this, Zechariah is reaching back to God’s promise with Abraham—to bless all the nations through his seed—and pointing forward to the day when that promise would be fulfilled in Christ. Jesus is the true seed of Abraham.
And Ephesians 2:11-20 and Romans 11:17-25 tell us that when Christ died on the cross and rose again, the floodgates of salvation were thrown open to all nations. He tore down the dividing wall of hostility, so that Greeks and Spaniards and Urdu and Aghori and Fulani and Turkish peoples could be grafted in to the rich root of all the promises given to Abraham—simply through faith in Christ.
And you live in the future day that Zechariah was pointing to. The nations are joining themselves to the Lord now—the New Testament says—as God draws them in through the gospel. Over all kinds of people who were once not his people, God is saying, “My people!” (Rom 9:25-26; 1 Pet 3:10).
And you know what that means? Zion is growing. The King is bringing the nations to his city. James says in Acts 15:16-17 that God is right now rebuilding the tent of David; he’s rebuilding its ruins to restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name. Paul says in Galatians 4:26 (cf. Isa 54:1-4) that Jew and Gentile alike who trust in Jesus are being gathered to the heavenly Jerusalem, right now. Hebrews 12:22 says that Christians from all over have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, right now.
Yes, let’s also be careful to say that God will still inherit Judah as his portion—verse 12. He will lift the hardening on Israel and bring them home to their Messiah toward the end, thus incorporating them into his new covenant people. But he won’t inherit Judah apart from gathering the nations—or as Paul puts it in Romans 11:25—until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And that’s happening today. It’s one more step in God’s plan toward his final temple-city—which we get a glimpse of in Revelation 19-22.
God is there, in that future city with all his redeemed peoples. The ESV says that the Lord will inherit Judah—that is, his people—in the holy land. It’s better translated “on holy ground”—the emphasis falling not so much on geographical borders as on the sacredness of God’s dwelling place. The only other place we find this phrase is at the burning bush in Exodus 3:5—take off your sandals, Moses, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. The idea is that the Lord’s presence so transforms this new temple-city, that everything becomes holy, sacred, pure, set apart for the Lord.
In some sense God’s return to his city has already begun. The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us—this is Immanuel, God with us (Matt 1:23)—and we have seen Jesus’ glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Zechariah 9:9 says, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O Daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your king is coming to you…humble and mounted on a donkey.” And that’s quoted in the Gospels when Jesus rides into town on a donkey. It’s part of his return to the new city. But he’s got to die first, in order to forgive people’s sins and populate that city. And since he’s risen from the dead, God’s Spirit dwells now in the church, his new temple, as a guarantee that the building of the new Jerusalem is right on track. The people are coming in, and the walls are going out and out and out. And we wait and we pray and we act till Jesus comes to flood the earth with his glory.
So, if this is the case, the question becomes for us, is this what you’re giving your life to as God’s people? Is this what you dream about from day to day? Is this the city that you’re investing in and living for and talking about and welcoming others to? Zechariah’s aim is to invigorate a new generation to give themselves wholeheartedly to the Lord and his kingdom; and his aim speaks just as loudly today.
Is the fact that Zion is growing, and the nations are coming, and the Lord is taking us there to be with him—does this fill you with rejoicing and song and joy from day to day? Many of us lose heart because we fix our eyes on the miserable situations before us. We become so apathetic because all we can see is sin everywhere—in the world, in the church, in our homes, in our own lives. The world becomes dark in a hurry.
But Zechariah’s vision beckons us to behold the God of the impossible—the one who can do far more abundantly than anything we can ask or think. A city sits in desolation, but God has plans we can’t imagine. He is sovereign in power to overcome the sin and despair of this age, and establish a new city of peace, righteousness, and glory. And it’s coming, folks! What are you doing to take people with you?
Does it shape how you talk to the others still settling for Babylon? Are you giving yourself to the nations—whether going to plant or staying to support? Is it your burden to see the Lord made glorious among the 3,159 unengaged ethnic groups? No churches, no missionaries, no knowledge of judgment, no knowledge of the new Jerusalem or how to enter life through Jesus—and we wonder what God wants us to do with our lives? We live in a day of spectacular fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy.
Give yourself to the nations far away. Give yourself to your neighbors nearby. Get into the specifics of their lives, and show them how Babylon will fall and how Zion will be lifted up; and invite them into the kingdom through the blood of Christ. This is where God is taking the world.
Here’s a small way you can be a part of that. This month, on August 31, many refugees will arrive in Fort Worth. And World Relief is asking for some help. One of the services they offer to the refugees—as they assimilate to life in Tarrant County—is cash assistance for a few months as they’re in search of jobs. Every month the Refugee Cash Assistance department delivers checks to the refugee families that are in the World Relief program. They have invite you to join this team as they go out into the refugee homes to give them the checks and check up on them to see how things are going. If you want to be involved, talk to Andy Caudill after the service.
And if your age or health limits you in some ways, dream of new ways to serve the nations coming to Jesus. Get creative. Here’s an example. Rachel’s grandmother. Gave herself to the nations joining the Lord in that day. Nearly 36 years of service in southern Rhodesia with the IMB—you know it as Zimbabwe. They had to eventually come home, because of her husband’s health. He died in January of 2013, married for more than 66 years. She was having complications with her health as well. But she could still write. And so she did—here’s the book, A Thousand Times Yes—giving folks a bit of insight into her own missionary labors, and an invitation to join her in the mission.
This was published in 2013, written at 89 years old. She’s 91 now, and may go to be with Jesus by the end of this weekend. But her life exemplifies what Zechariah’s vision is about. Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. She knows where true joy abides. If we truly capture this vision; if this vision masters us and arrests our hearts, then our lives will be way out of step with this world. You and I were made to enjoy a glory that is infinitely more thrilling than Netflix or football or Xbox of Facebook or sex or food or anything else in this world. We were made for God’s glory-city. And you know why God’s city is so wonderful? He is there. He is there. Think often of his glory. Read often of his glory. Talk often about his glory. Sing often about his glory. Treasure often his glory. Pray for God to open your eyes to see more of his glory. And you will be changed, 2 Corinthians 3:18 says—“beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” Babylon loses its luster when you’re beholding true glory.
Be silent, because God is on the move
Which leads us to the third and final exhortation in our passage: be silent, because God is on the move. Verse 13, “Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.” It’s a figurative way of saying he was about to enact his heavenly purpose on earth. The destiny he set for the new Jerusalem, the plans he made to bring it forth in judging Babylon and building Zion and gathering the nations—the Lord rises to make it happen.
And the call for all humanity is to bow in worship before God’s awesome majesty and unstoppable power. The silence spoken of here is one that’s filled with reverence and awe (cf. Hab 2:20; Zeph 1:7). We see the same thing in Revelation 8:1—after Jesus breaks the seventh seal to enact God’s purposes on earth, the text says, “there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” A most appropriate response to the sheer majesty of it all. Maybe we can compare it to the awe-filled silence we experience after hearing a thunderclap rattle the walls of our house—and in that moment you’re reminded of how small you really are and how mighty God truly is.
I can’t make you feel this. I was sitting with Rachel on the couch Friday night, and just telling her how dissatisfied I was with the sermon this week, because how do you put sheer majesty into words? The glory of God’s presence transforming Jerusalem and the earth into a cosmic, Garden-like sanctuary—how do you describe that, so people feel it? My words don’t do it justice. But I know that God’s word is sufficient and the Holy Spirit is able to make us feel it, make us know it, make us love it. Let’s pray now to that end.