In this passage, Zechariah has a vision of an angelic person who has a measuring line in his hand. Reading ahead into the following chapter, this angel speaks as though he is God but also distinct from God. We should see him as a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus. In the appearance he is carrying a measuring line to measure Jerusalem. He explains the reason for this as well as sharing other truths about what he will do for his people.
Ingatherer of the Nations – The reason for the measuring rod is to make sure there is enough room for the vast multitude that will come to live in the city. This may have seemed strange at the time when most of Israel were in exile in Babylon and Jerusalem was sparsely populated but God’s promise is to gather not just Israel but all the nations (v10). We see fulfilment of this in the church as God is drawing in all nations to his people, who are his ‘spiritual Jerusalem’.
Wall of Fire – Part of the problem presented by the expansion of Jerusalem is that it would be a city without walls. This would usually leave a city vulnerable to attack, but there is a promise in verse 5 that the Lord will be a ‘wall of fire all round’. Though we may not always have the protection of physical walls, we do know that God is the protector of his people. This is illustrated in the early chapters of Job where God sets limits on the extent to which Satan can tempt Job, and means that nothing can cause ultimate harm for those who are in Christ (see Rom 8:35-39).
Glory In Our Midst – The Lord promises to be in the very midst of his people as a glory (v5), and reiterates the promise in verses 10 and 11. The image picks up on the moment when God’s glory filled the temple and it speaks of God’s very presence with us. Through Christ, the Holy Spirit has been poured out on the church and we can enter into his presence all the time. God is in the midst of us!
- Faith For Growth – This passage is all about measuring the city because of the promised growth. We should have faith that God’s kingdom will expand, and this should profoundly impact the way we pray, witness and live.
- Fearless Living – There are many things in life that can cause us to worry and be afraid, but the truth that God is the protector of his people gives us confidence to step into whatever we have been called to knowing that no matter what happens, we are ultimately secure in him.
- Sing and Rejoice – In verse 10, the suggested response to God dwelling in the midst of his people is to sing and rejoice! It is a truth to celebrate and should fuel our worship.