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Scrub Tree Victory

October 13, 2009

Have you ever seen a myrtle tree? They aren’t much to look at. They don’t really inspire awe or respect. In many cases, looking at a myrtle tree makes you wonder, ‘how did that survive for so long.” It is a scrub tree, a glorified bush. Yet it is the myrtle tree that God chooses to use as representation of redeemed Israel in Zechariah 1:7-17.

The second vision of Zechariah finds the prophet delivering God’s comfort to a people just beginning to return from exile to a land of desolation that was once a land of milk and honey. In exile and under judgement for 70 years, they are finally reaching the point of judgement on the enemy nations of God that Jeremiah prophesied about. Jesus [1] stands amidst the myrtle trees, the remnant of Israel, and cries out to God, “How long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem?”

The Lord of Hosts [2] answers quickly that He is jealous for Israel, like a jealous husband he will come rushing in to redeem his bride, to establish her, to conquer and judge her enemies. He declares that Israel will flourish and will overflow with prosperity, they will be firmly established and God will make His house among them.

A grove of scrub tree myrtles are made rulers of the world. They are made conquerors of all their enemies. How? Because Christ is standing amongst the myrtles as the Captain of the Lord’s Army. Because He is jealous for His bride. Likewise it doesn’t always look good for us as a church. You could say that the shape of the church in America is little better than a myrtle tree. Not very impressive. Scorned or dismissed by her enemies.

We can learn two things from this. First, humility. We are called to follow Jesus example of humility. We must be least in the Kingdom of God to be first. We must serve to lead. Second, we have confidence of sure victory for the gospel in the world. Not because of our intelligence, spirituality, methods or talent but because Christ is standing amongst the myrtles crying out to the Lord of Hosts on our behalf. We are a scrub tree church assured of certain victory in Christ.

[1] There are two angels present. One interprets the vision and God’s Word for Zechariah (see verses 9, 14), the other is both the “man standing among the myrtle trees” in verses 8 and 10 and then revealed as the “Angel of the Lord” in verse 11. The Angel of the Lord is the pre-incarnation form of Jesus according to Paul (1 Corinthians 10:9). For further evidence see the way Joshua responds to this angel in Joshua 5:13-15.

[2] The Lord of Hosts is the primary name used for God in the book of Zechariah. This name stresses the warrior attributes of God. He is the God who leads a host of angels to war. He is the God who goes forth to war. This is significant because this is the God who fights the battles for Israel and the Church. We need not have fear because our God is the Lord of Hosts.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Melissa permalink
    August 31, 2012 12:10 am

    I was very interested to stumble on your blogg while reading Zechariah and searching for an image of a myrtal tree. However what verse do you refer to when you write 1 Corinth 10:9? My bible speaks of not tempting the Lord and poisonous snakes in that verse, not of the Angel of the Lord. Could you possibly clarify as I am most interested. Many thanks and I liked the article!

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