Zechariah 3 commences the fourth vision of the Lord to the prophet Zechariah. The first, second, and third visions having told of the future spiritual restoration of the nation of Israel, give way to the fourth vision, as if to answer the prophet’s inquiry, “How?” How will God accomplish this restoration? How will a righteous God clear the names of the guilty?
Whenever I hear a speaker open with the words, “Turn to the Book of Revelation,” I tend to get a little uneasy. I get nervous because I never know how that speaker is going to handle the mysterious material in the book. Oftentimes, the comfort derived out of Revelation is from “knowing what’s going to happen.” But, very plainly, that’s not even close to the comfort Jesus gives.
French theologian and philosopher Blaise Pascal once said, “All men seek happiness . . . This is the motive of every action of man, even of those who hang themselves.” The brazenness of this quote reveals a startling truth: everyone’s looking for lasting joy. Even those who commit suicide are chasing joy — they’ve just been duped into thinking killing themselves is the answer. The gospel, though, provides a better answer.
The tragedies of life are the parts that remain the most perplexing. It is difficult to understand why a particularly traumatic season is allowed to endure. Sadly, some that have tried to explain these situations and reason away the pain and adversity have done more harm than good to those who are truly hurting. Thus, a fresh look at the apostle Paul’s discussion of suffering in Romans 8.