Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and shall be my people. Zechariah 2:11

 I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. Revelation 7:9  

In much of the Old Testament we read about Israel, about their place as the special people of God. Often the prophecies say Israel will win! Israel will triumph! All their enemies will be vanquished. Then we read in Zechariah about a future, a future where God will be dwelling among the people. He again will come to them; a few verses earlier it says his home will be in Jerusalem. So is the prophet saying: great it's us, we're the people we're the ones that God likes and everybody else well they don't really matter? That's not what we read in our verse today. Zechariah says that many nations will join themselves to the Lord; many nations will become the people of God. It's not limited to one exclusive group.   

This is not at all what people expected. They assumed that God was theirs, not anyone else’s . Just like when Jesus came into our world and the people expected an earthly king, One that would rule over them, and help them be the great nation among all those enemy nations. Not  too different than what we see today where many religious groups say they have the only way the only way to approach God. they are the only ones that will be saved. Yet, as one commentator says about this verse: God comes in unexpected and surprising ways.  

After all he sends Jesus as a baby, a helpless baby born in a Manger not in a palace. Jesus didn't come as an earthly king, to rule over just one group. Our divisions into lots of denominations, and sects, often split by race and national origin, this is not what God had planned. In Revelation, John writes about what he saw in his vision, not just one group of people, one ethnicity, one country. Rather he sees a multitude. People from every country from every language from every tribe. Multitudes of people, too many to be counted, God wants absolutely everyone to be before the throne of God. All rejoicing in God’s grace and salvation.      

God of peace, we thank you for calling us away from our pride of privilege place to a life of welcoming strangers and serving outsiders in your name. sustain us in your vision for this world which you have made so lovely by your mercy. Saving God, you long for us to join your celebrations. You’ve blessed us with the gift of salvation through Jesus. May we, when this life is through, join you with the saints above. Amen.

Chris Gabel