Day 3

Crowning of the Branch

from the Zechariah and Malachi reading plan

Zechariah 5:1-11, Zechariah 6:1-15, Matthew 16:18, Galatians 3:13-14

BY Rebecca Faires

I definitely do not want my living room to be visited by a giant flying scroll. I do not want to see a shrine built to the basket o’ wickedness. And I feel quite uneasy about dappled horses patrolling north, west, east, and south. The visions God gave to Zechariah can be both creative and terrifying. They reveal how God shows kindness to His people while bringing judgment to the wicked. Puritan commentator Matthew Henry reminds us that while the pillar of fire in Egypt was a beacon of promise to Israel, it was a swirling black portent to the Egyptians.

We tend to think of judgment as only that which follows sin, but whenever God allows people to devote themselves to wickedness, that also is a judgment. God sends the basket of wickedness to Shinar—the land of Babylon—and it is placed upon a shrine to be worshiped. In other words, He is telling His people that if it’s evil and wickedness they want, they can return to Babylon. But make no mistake: there is no good thing in that basket, only wickedness. Or they can choose to stay in Judah and return to the Lord. He is coming, and He will keep His promises.

Visions and prophecies are difficult to interpret—that is one thing commentators and biblical scholars can agree on. However, one thing is clear: The Lord is the Lord of the whole earth. All the lands are His, and His ministers roam to and fro, doing His bidding. He alone is Lord and God. And that is truly comforting to His people, because He is a good God.

Zechariah looked to see what was approaching, and though the images are striking, the substance of His visions fits with what we already know of the gospel. The final image here is of the crowned priest-king who “will build the LORD’s temple; he will be clothed in splendor and will sit on his throne and rule… People who are far off will come and build the LORD’s temple, and you will know that the LORD of Armies has sent me to you (Zechariah 6:13,15). The reign of righteousness established by the Branch is a foreshadowing of Christ, the true Priest-King, who alone “fully obeys the Lord” (vv.9–15). No matter what our circumstances might look like, no matter what disappointments surround us, no matter how we’ve failed, our only hope is Christ.

Post Comments (36)

36 thoughts on "Crowning of the Branch"

  1. Makenzie Knowlden says:

    thinking a lot abt the basket of wickedness. there’s no good thing within the basket, but a shrine is still built to it where people will worship/serve it. so sad to think that we know so many ppl who are worshipping the wrong thing… but also thinking that sometimes i feel like zechariah and even though i’ve literally SEEN that only wickedness went into the basket, i sometimes choose to worship at that shrine too. like i bow down to the things of this world, even though i know the truth. heavy heart, but also a grateful heart for how patient God has been and is with me.

    1. Kari Villarreal says:

      My heart’s response to this reading, too. Well said.

  2. Lacey Mollel says:

    Certainly these visions were disturbing and difficult to understand. God laid it out plain- go and be wicked or stay and choose me. In seasons where god seems farther away from me than others this is a good reminder that perhaps I am the one creating the distance and it continues to be a simple choice- choose Christ because he already chose me.

  3. Lauren Elaine says:

    I love this reading and the call to hold the mystery of God and power of God both at the same time.

    Does anyone else struggle with the Bible’s continual portrayal of wickedness as a woman? It happens in more places than just in this scripture and I know it’s a vision so it’s not meant to be read the same way as Jesus’ words but still. I can’t help but think about all the comments over the years from Christian men who always blame women for being the “wicked” one or its our fault for _____.

    1. Georgia Di says:

      Interesting observation Lauren, I’d be quite curious to see the original version and understand a bit the context.. Could it be because back in the day women would be most likely to perform occult practices?
      Genuinely no idea, but such a good discussion topic!

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  5. Angie says:

    Bree Beal, thank you for sharing those beautiful heart thoughts.

    Emily Sheaffer, I encourage your wisdom in focusing on Christ. Ask him for wisdom with an open heart to his plan and purpose for your life. May God clearly give you wisdom and a heart that obeys. I don’t know you but your situation does not surprise God. I pray you will trust Him.

  6. Ashley Thomas says:

    This book of the Bible has always perplexed me. Clearly, there are so many ways to interpret a vision. Thankfully, I know the only things that matter are God

    1. Ashley Thomas says:

      This book of the Bible has always perplexed me. Clearly, there are so many ways to interpret a vision. Thankfully, I know the only things that matter are God the father and Jesus Christ the son. I will always be a sinner, but I am forgiven. No matter what comes my way, I will keep my faith.

  7. Bree Beal says:

    I never imagined that I would live in a time of history where mass shootings occur on an almost weekly basis in our great nation. It’s an evil that is hard to fathom. But obviously in Zacharias day there was evil he couldn’t imagine either. I wonder if his heart ached the way mine does when I read the news or scroll through my Facebook feed and see the latest about the evil that stalks our world. It’s in those moments I cry out “maranatha” (Revelation 22:20 KJV). But Jesus is our promise keeper. His word is truth and what He says will come to pass. On my hard days when dreams aren’t fulfilled, when an angry driver cuts me off on the freeway, and a whole host of other hard things, I pick up my Bible, hold it close to my heart and hold on tight to the Word. It’s the Word that anchors me, the light that guides me, and the love letter written from Jesus to me and you and it’s filled with the hope of glory! Hallelujah!

    Father God, Your Word is my truth in a world that’s passing away. It’s my joy, my hope, my peace. I love Your Word! It’s life and contains the promise of Jesus’ return to vanquish all evil forever and to set up His Kingdom that will never end. What a great day that will be. In Jesus Name, Amen!

    1. Sandy Pass says:

      Thank you Bree for sharing, I’m struggling today also from what I hear and see going on in our broken world, it just grieves my heart. But I’m so thankful for our Lord and Savior Jesus, only he can remove those fears. I feel so sorry for those that do not have Jesus in their life, how fearful they must be.

  8. Emily Sheaffer says:

    I’m currently struggling in some broken relationships with my parents and their disapproval of my relationship with my boyfriend. I’m struggling when I feel God is leading me to continue to pursue this relationship and the peace I have regarding our relationship. The last two days’ readings have been such an encouragement to focus on Christ alone. To focus on honoring God and everything else will work itself out. He has this. He has it all under control. He will lead me and guide me if I just stop focusing on everything no making sense and focus on Him alone.

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