Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint
Today’s Passage: Zechariah 2
Let’s talk about Axiom Verge again. Axiom Verge is a retro action-adventure computer game, and one of its weapons is called the Firewall. It launches a short-range bomb which, on impact, erupts in a vertical pillar of flame. Literalism! It’s a play on words, because computers! But God made the same play on words thousands of years ago, long before digital firewalls were even a thing.
So, for a very long time, it was a latent play on words. Also it was in Hebrew.
In all seriousness, though, perhaps I should provide some context. Today’s chapter begins with Zechariah seeing a man with a measuring line, which he reveals is for taking Jerusalem’s dimensions. The angel with Zechariah sends a second, different angel to intercept the measuring-line guy and tell him not to even bother, because God is going to cause Jerusalem’s population to outgrow its walls. The prosperity will be a sign of God’s compassion–the same compassion that the angel asked God to show his people in the last chapter.
But what good is all that prosperity if the overflowing population has no walls to protect it? Instantly, as if anticipating any misgivings, the angel reports that God’s got them covered: “‘For I,’ declares the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst'” (5). God himself will provide protection.
I can’t help but wonder if this promise is a callback to one of God’s previous exploits. In 2 Kings 6:8-17, Elisha has run afoul of the king of Aram, who surrounds the town where the prophet is staying. Elisha’s servant anxiously turns to him for direction, but Elisha simply prays, “O Lord…open his eyes that he may see” (17). Suddenly, the servant sees that “the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (17). It’s not a literal wall of fire, but God does provide fiery protection via the flaming chariots. Is it a stretch to say we’re intended to think of this scene when God promises to be a wall of fire? I’m also reminded of God guiding the Israelites through the wilderness as a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). Say what you will, but God has a history of fire.
As the prophecy continues, God promises a revitalization of his people and deliverance from the Babylonian Exile. He urges them: “Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst” (10). The people’s reason for rejoicing is that God will be among them. As David knew, as Paul knew, prosperity and security are just the icing on the cake.
God’s greatest gift is God. God doesn’t just give the firewall; God is the firewall.