Read: Zechariah 2:10-12

God, I pray we would take time to see Your Word right now. I pray that it would wash over us like fresh water. I pray that Your promises would stir up our affection for You and give us no choice but to obey You: sing and rejoice.

“O come, O come, Emmanuel…”

I was a child, tucked in the corner of a wooden church pew, hearing my choir director solemnly sing at a Sunday evening service (That Baptist life). As she processed down the parquet wood aisle, I was moved to stillness. It was not the words she sang, per se, but the haunting tone of her desperate song:

“O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.”

Today’s passage in Zechariah reminds me of that desperation and expectation for the coming of the Lord.

Re-read today’s passage slowly.

Twice in today’s three verses, the Lord declares that He will dwell in the midst of His people, once in verse 10 and again in verse 11. If you write in your Bible, underline the phrase “and I will dwell in your midst” (ESV) in those two verses.

When I read that phrase, the birth and life of Jesus first comes to mind. Through faith, we have seen the coming and dwelling of the Lord when He came to earth in the form of a man and dwelt among us. We have seen Him live a perfect life, in perfect communion with God, and offer His life up as the irreplaceable payment for our sin. We have seen the Lord dwell in our hearts as the Holy Spirit. We have seen the fulfillment of God’s promise: “I come and I will dwell in your midst” (verse 10).

But, the repetition of that beautiful phrase is striking. The repetition makes me think of two different advents— one at Christmas two thousand years ago, and one still to come. In our December 2017 Christian lives, we live between verse10 and verse 11, between the two advents.

“I come and I will dwell in your midst…and I will dwell in your midst” (verses 10-11).

Why is the reality of two advents significant?

Go back to the verses. Read what happens in conjunction with God’s first declaration: “…many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day and shall be My people” (verse 10).

Sing and rejoice that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has made us right with God so that we can be joined to Him and be His people – even though we very much do not deserve it. The gift of Jesus’s substitution will be available to all nations and all peoples. That is the joy of the first advent, the first coming of God to earth.

Now read what happens in conjunction with the repeated declaration: “…and you shall know that the Lord of hosts sent me to you” (verse 11).

You will know.

Sing and rejoice that there will be a day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord! There will be a second advent, a coming when the whole world will acknowledge the Godship of Jesus, and our faith will be sight! Glory to God in the highest, that He declares He will dwell with us for eternity and be our light!

Before you close your Bible (or Bible app) today, don’t miss the first words of today’s passage. It is a command, and it exemplifies our celebration in God’s presence: “Sing and rejoice.”

Just like my choir director sang:

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emannanuel

shall come to thee, O Israel.

For further reading: Revelation 21 & 22

– Blair Onyekenne

Part of the Advent: The Coming King, Devotional Guide in 2017