Tuesday Bible study 15th June led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

BIBLE STUDY- GOD REIGNS

I remember reading about a man named Charlie Wilson who woke up one morning with a crushing headache. It turned out that he was having a massive stroke which left him blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and paralysed on one side. However, the worst element was memory loss. He didn’t know who he was or what anything was called. He had re-learn the words for things. When other patients were looking forward to going home, Charlie had no idea of what home looked like or meant. He couldn’t see past the present reality.

It is on a different scale but perhaps during the pandemic we could no longer imagine an end. We could not see past the present reality. That sense of being stuck without having a forward direction can happen at any time, in any season, for any reason.

  1. Can you identify with ‘not being able to see past the present reality’?

Zechariah was a prophet after the exile. It is twenty years since the first wave returned from Babylon. Some of those who came back had been born in Babylon and had no-idea what their ‘home country’ looked like. Some had spent decades longing for home. Psalm 137 is full of homesickness. When they did finally return the land was in a mess. It was far from being the end of their struggles. Disappointment kicked in.

  1. When has the end not really been the end for you?

Read Zechariah 14: 3-5.

It sounds strange but God, through the prophet Zechariah, pushes the perfect day of culmination further down the track. It is not the day of return but something far bigger. In this part of Zechariah ‘On that day’ is said seven times. Seven times should ring bells because it links the prophecy to the creation story. Zechariah is painting a picture of a new creation, a time when the reign of God is fully realised. In verse 9 it states that ‘the Lord will be King over the whole earth’.

  1. What does ‘the Lord is King’ mean to you? Does the language still work in a time when we don’t have kings?
  2. Does having a bigger hope help when we’re disappointed- how?

Zechariah has some images connected to ‘on that day’- glimpses of what it might be like. It is all heightened poetry. I don’t think we are meant to take it too literally.

Read Zechariah 14: 6-7What Bible passages/verses do you associate with light?

On the one hand the language reminds us of Genesis 1 but on the other, the newly created order will be very different from what we know. Somehow there will be no day or night but ‘at evening time it will still be light’. It is full of contradictions and our usual categories collapse. This will be a day when even what a day is will change. There will still be light because God is light.

Read Revelation 21: 22-24

We will no longer need the sun or moon to navigate by and our sense of time will be based on something else. God will be our guiding light. One day we will not worry about the future as we do now but walk in the light of the Lord.

Read Zechariah 14: 8

  1. What Bible passages/verses do you associate with flowing water?

These life-giving waters flow throughout the boundaries of the promised land and they never run dry. How compelling this would be to the original audience when drought was part of life and death. Access to clean, flowing water is still a problem in many parts of the world. Living water doesn’t just refer a physical river but spiritual refreshment. God will provide for us. God’s supply will not run out.

Read Zechariah 14: 20-21

I quite like this image. As our categories collapse- the secular becomes sacred. Ordinary cooking pots become special vessels and everything is filled with the glory of God. There is an odd reference to traders/or Canaanites in the temple. Maybe that’s about the end of commerce and consumerism where some people win and some people lose. Perhaps the Temple has become open to foreigners or if the correct translation is ‘Canaanite’ then maybe our human categories also disappear. There is no longer Jew or Greek, male or female, Protestant and Catholic, Owl or Blade etc. However, this generous interpretation sits uneasily with the all-out victory language of Zechariah 14:12-19.

  1. How do we handle the exclusivism of Zechariah 14:12-19?
  2. When has the secular become sacred for you? (Somehow ordinary things/people have shown the glory of God)

Three visions of hope for people who feel stuck in a present reality or for whom the promised day has lacked promise. However, we all want them now not in some distant future. Zechariah’s vision has begun in Jesus it is just not fully completed. We can be guided, refreshed and challenged to see the sacred in everything and everyone through the Holy Spirit. We work and serve to make those things possible for others. We look forward in certain hope to that glad day when God will reign over all. The Lord will be King over the whole earth.

  1. Which of these three images speaks the most to you? What does the world need most right now?

Prayer

Lord you are King, Reign over us, the places we inhabit and the people we meet. Help us see by Your light, Help us drink Your living water and be refreshed, Help us see the sacred in the ordinary- even ordinary people. Help us hold out those things to others. We praise You for Your Kingship that is about service rather than power for its own sake. You are a God of goodness. Amen.

Comments are closed.