The scene was a picture of what had been. Glory days had given way to gory details of a merciless attack, vicious enough to make even the hardest of men sick on their stomachs. A city that had once been visited by the Queen of Sheba now hosted vultures and ravaging animals. King Nebuchadnezzar had his way–the carnage of death and destruction lay in his wake.
Seventy years passed. The people were working but weary. Lest you think they were alone in their weariness, Zechariah gives us a glimpse into heaven. He has a vision of the angel of the Lord. In a rare glimpse into glory, the angel of the Lord asks the Lord of Hosts a question. It is a question you may be asking today: How long?
Who is the angel of the Lord who is bold enough to ask God such a question? Bible scholars believe that the reference to the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ–a theophany. If this is the case (and I agree with Bible scholars on this), then when you ask How long? you are in good company. I not only love the question, I love the answer.
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)
Again. Four times God said again. What the angel of the Lord’s intercession reveals is that God is a God of again. God was waiting for, longing for, anticipating the day he would again bless Jerusalem. God desires to overflow our lives. He longs to comfort us. As a matter of fact, later Zechariah writes:
He who touches you touches the apple of his eye.Zechariah 2:8
You are the apple of God’s eye. And he is the God of again. I don’t know what your “again” is, I don’t know where you need God to step in and be your “God of again” but I can assure you of this…that he longs to be gracious, that his heart hurts with yours, and that Jesus knows how you feel when you ask “How long?”