Jerusalem had seen 70 years of devastation. The Assyrian army came with a vengeance, destroyed the palace, ransacked the temple, and confiscated the articles used to worship God, carrying them back to their own pagan temples. The walls in shambles, the city in ruins, God speaks through Zechariah his prophet:
“The LORD was very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 1:2-3 ESV)
Repeated words are repeated for a reason. God is referenced as the LORD of hosts three times in this passage. The LORD of hosts is the God of angel armies, the God who fights for Israel. When God chose to speak to his people after their rebellion, he spoke as the LORD (all capitals refers to God’s personal name, Jehovah), and specifically the LORD of armies–God’s ready to fight for his own wandering children.
Why? After all they’ve done, why would he desire to defend them?
So the angel who talked with me said to me, ‘Cry out, Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. (Zechariah 1:14 ESV)
God is jealous for his children. He loves them (and you). Then the word again shows up–4 times in one sentence. Don’t miss it.
Cry out again, Thus says the LORD of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.’” (Zechariah 1:17 ESV, emphasis mine)
God is the God of again. Cry out again. My cities shall again. and the LORD will again. And again choose. Dictionary.com defines again as “once more, another time, anew.”
Going through a divorce? You can love again. Death of a loved one? You’ll see them again. Fired from your job? You’ll work again. Breakup with the person you thought was the one? You’ll date again. Committed that same sin? God forgives again. Bank account exhausted? God will provide again.
“How can you be sure?” you ask.
For thus said the LORD of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye: (Zechariah 2:8 ESV)
You are the apple of his eye, the pulse of his heart, the thought on his mind, the object of his jealousy, the joy of Jesus on the cross, the bride of Christ. Anybody who touches you, touches the apple of God’s eye.
And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.’” (Zechariah 2:5 ESV)
God’s got you. He’s around you and in you.
The God of again.