Saturday, November 9, 2013

Daily Old Testament: Zechariah 5 and My Own Article on "What DId I Say?" (Part 4)

Zechariah 5 – The sixth vision is a flying scroll 20 cubits long and 10 cubits wide. It is the “curse sweeping across the face of the whole country” (5:3) banishing every thief and everyone who swears falsely.

Then the seventh vision – a bushel basket with a heavy lead cover. A woman in the basket represents wickedness. The angel forces her back in and puts the lead cover on it. Two women with “wings like a stork . . . picked up the basket and flew into the sky” (5:9). They are going to the land of Babylonia “where they will build a temple for the basket. And when the temple is ready they will set the basket there on its pedestal” (5:11).

From Leadings: A Catholic’s Journey Through Quakerism -
“What Did I Say?”
Part 4
[Continuing a simple lay-out of the scripture narrative] After the failure of the Noah project, God’s redemptive work takes up with Abraham. God sees in Abraham a man who will listen to his voice and do his will—the archetype of the hearer and obeyer that is so central to Friends’ understanding of faith. Out of the obedience of this one man will come a people who will hear and obey. The law and outward rites are given to this people to train them and guide them, but there is much backsliding and faithlessness. Error and repentance are thus part of the journey, as are the prophets God sends to reprove and guide the people back when they go astray. As the people mature in the context of God’s redemption, more is expected of them—a deeper understanding of God’s law, a more spiritual grasp of his will, and again it is the prophets who will help them come to these deeper understandings.

But the journey is not without deep and catastrophic setbacks. The division of the kingdom after Solomon and the many years of unfaithfulness and abuse under the kings who follow him ultimately lead to a near destruction of God’s people and many years in exile from the Promised Land. In the midst of the suffering and turmoil brought on by these events, there is always the promise and hope of renewal and return. The prophets see a future Messiah who will heal the people of God, restore the kingdom promised to David, and bring a new covenant to man—one not written in stone or even in ink, but one written on the human heart so that even the promise of Eden, the home God intended for man from the beginning, might be restored.

In time, a man is born whose life and teaching lead some to believe that he is the promised Messiah, but it turns out he is both less and more than had been expected. He does not do all that they had come to expect the Messiah would do—he does not lead armies or depose the Roman occupiers. But after his death on the cross, his followers experience him resurrected and they come to believe that his is actually more than the Messiah. He is God in the form of man. They see in him the substance of all that God has previously brought forth from the beginning to draw people to him—the substance of the “types” and “figures” of the story in all their fullness: God’s light and Word, the new Adam, the seed of Eve, man’s offerings to God, the ark, the manna in the desert, the water from the rock, our scapegoat and sin offering, our priest, our shepherd, our prophet, our king, our law, and perhaps most of all, our New Covenant.

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