“I myself am going!”


David Turtle – President of the Methodist Church in Ireland. 

Throughout the year, as I have travelled to parts of Ireland I’ve never visited before, my admiration for the map and sign reading skills of those in previous generations has gone through the roof. GPS has removed a lot of the fear of being going off course from our journeys. I know that as long as I have my phone, I can be confident that I’m never totally lost. 

It’s a different story for finding our way in life and our walk with Jesus though. Despite the greater certainty which the ocean of factual answers to everyday questions gives us, the lostness we feel as we try to navigate the challenges of life brings a more profound and pervasive anxiety. Google has few solutions to the deep questions of the soul. Bard or ChatGPT bring little calm for the fears we may have for the future.

The book of Zechariah is a wild, what seems like random, collection of dreams and bizarre images which comes as a message to the people of ancient Judah as they journey through the disorientation of having experienced almost 70 years of exile. Their future is anything but certain. 

Into the anxiety and confusion which God’s people are experiencing, Zechariah invites them to look above the chaos and hope for God’s Kingdom to come. His message is one that seeks to motivate their faithfulness in that present moment and challenges them to become people who are ready to go on to play their part in God’s Kingdom. There is a call both to repentance and commitment to participate. Zechariah offers that same challenge to all generations of God’s people everywhere.

 In Zechariah 8, this prophet speaks a word from God which offers the beautiful, hopeful picture of people from many nations gathering to seek the Lord:

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.” Zechariah 8:20-22 NIV

This prophecy serves also as a call to prayer. It’s not a call to come or pray reluctantly or to seek the Lord out of obligation or duty but reflects a heartfelt desire to seriously connect with God and experience His presence.

Centuries before Zechariah speaks this prophecy, Hosea had brought a word from God to the people of the northern kingdom of Israel pleading with them to break up their fallow ground and challenging them with words that appear to have been ignored, “It is time to seek the Lord” (Hosea 10:12 NIV). Now Zechariah sees the hope that those in a new generation from Judah who had survived the exile, and those in future generations will come to genuinely seek after God. 

These are not merely people going to pray.

They say, “Let us go at once”. They have urgency and passion.

They are going to “entreat (earnestly request of) the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty.” They want to connect with God, to experience his presence, to hear his voice and walk in his ways.

They are coming together. The passage speaks of people from different cities who join and together seek the Lord. From different places and cultures, they are coming to unite in one voice to seek the Lord. 

They are giving personal commitment: “I myself am going.” This isn’t a passive assent to the fact that ‘someone should pray’, or a recognition that it is time that God’s people should seek the Lord. 

“I myself am going.” I am personally bought in. I am seeking the Lord. I repent. I will persist. I will play my part.

In the uncertainty of what the future held for them, Zechariah gives a picture of God’s people moving forward only as they chose to seek the Lord. 

It’s easy and understandable for us to feel lost at times as change accelerates and the loudest voices we hear don’t answer the cries of our souls. The Voice which we most need to hear is most often heard only when we come seeking to hear it: seeking with urgency and sincerity; seeking alongside other seekers; seeking in personal commitment.

Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Our seeking is a seeking after the Person of Jesus, the One who is gentle and humble in heart.

‘Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’

Practice – “It is time to seek the Lord” Throughout this month, as you listen for the invitation of God to you and your church community to move forward,  take time to meditate on the words of Matthew 11:28-30. Allow the words to sit with you and ask what is the cry of my soul? Allow yourself to rest in God’s presence – See what God wants to say to you, perhaps read it in a couple of different translations throughout the month. As you seek to move, take the time to seek God first.

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