Read: Zechariah 5-6
Think: After reading these two chapters of Scripture I sit a bit puzzled. Quite honestly, I have some biblical training and knowledge, but not a high level of it. I’ve learned many things, even about these very verses, but after the final exam was taken – much of it was lost. And as I think about that, I realize something both profound and convicting.
Look at Zechariah 5:6 again,
“I asked, “What is it?” He replied, “It is a basket.” And he added, “This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land.”
When I read scripture, I always begin by asking the one who inspired it, “What is it? Help me see what you want me to learn today.” And he is faithful to do that. When I ask, “What is it?” he replies, “It is a basket.”
But at times the Bible still leaves me puzzled. I randomly open to Zechariah but I can’t remember the historical context that this prophet was writing in. I don’t get why he is talking about baskets and horses. I may get a little something devotional for myself out of the reading, but I miss out on the bigger picture of God’s story. (Don’t get me wrong, whatever we take from scripture is a gift from God! And I praise him each day for helping me connect my life with his story!)
That’s why reading things like Pastor Mike’s first two posts on Zechariah are so important! History and theology might be words that make you want to turn away and start running, but listen dear ones – if we want to grow deeper roots in our faith they are the things we must turn to. Until we are willing to study and know the whole story of God’s people, we will never get the “and he added” part of the response in verse 6. Knowing a basket is a basket is a great thing, but seeing a deeper meaning and connection to the basket was even greater for Zechariah.
The same is true for us. The Bible continually calls out truth, and when we recognize it as such that is a great thing, but when we understand the context of when those words were written, and know the history of the human author of them, the Bible comes alive in a whole new beautiful way. We get the level 2 experience of God’s word!
Let’s keep studying so that when we ask, “Lord, what is that?” We get both the obvious answer, and the depth which comes from the hard work of figuring out what these visions mean, and why this person said this at such and such a time.
Just like Donkey said to Shrek, onions have layers, Ogres have layers; the same is true of God’s word! Peel back another layer friend!
Pray: Ask God to give you the resources and the ability to study his word, and the history of his plan and people.