I don't know about you, but I have a habit of focusing on the verses of hope in the Old Testament.
And why not just focus on the verses of hope you may ask?
All the bad news and unhappy endings can be a bit depressing, and there seems to be a lot of that in the Old Testament. However, I wonder if by putting such a heavy focus only on the good things, I've neglected to feel the 'burden of the word.'
"The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him." Zechariah 12:1
We are living in the time grace, joy, and mercy. All these things to celebrate, what need have we to be burdened? Are we not supposed to count it all joy and be freed from bondage?
Someone has to lose for another to win.
In Zechariah 12, the prophet shares that Israel will win at a horrible cost for the unbelieving world. He tells of great loss, great pain, horrible battles, death and destruction on a cataclysmic scale. That is the great cost of victory. No wonder Zechariah felt the gravity of God's message. He saw the whole picture not just the good parts.
In the second half of the chapter, Zechariah writes that Israel will 'look upon me [God] whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn.' And not just any sort of mourning. The type one feels when they have lost their only son, a deep-seated bitterness that breaks the heart.
With Jesus's death on the cross, death was swallowed up in victory, but that does not make the pain Jesus endured obsolete.
Jesus's death was horrific. The victory in Revelation is horrific and triumphant at the same time. When we used Zechariah's method of viewing victories, we'll not be blind to the cost of our victory. We'll feel the burden of the Word we are called to share with the world.
Don't skip over the sad parts of the story. Feel that burden, that weight. It will help you appreciate God's gift more and to have compassion on the lost.
You can rejoice and be burdened at the same time. Both can and should coincide.
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