Zechariah 5:5: “Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, ‘Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth.'”

September 14th, 2018 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Zechariah was commanded to lift his eyes to see a vision God was giving him. He was being shown God’s view of earth and eternity. There is a popular verse in the old King James Version of Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” That phrase is engraved over the municipal outdoor amphitheater in our city, Redlands, California. It correctly reminds us that without a vision, any people will began to lose hope and give up on worthy pursuits. The Hebrew word translated perish is parah, which means “to wander aimlessly and run wild.” At the time this verse was spoken to the people of Judah, they were in danger of losing their vision and desire to serve God. When they first arrived back in Jerusalem, after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, they had a great vision and hope. Their first mission was to rebuild the temple. But then, as so often happens, “things” got in the way. Enemies opposing them, internal petty bickering among themselves; and the everyday hassles of earning a living, providing for family, raising the kids, keeping the chariot running, and the roof from leaking got in the way of a spiritual vision. So God sent them a reminder in the form of a vision of how God viewed daily life on earth and the importance of eternity. Eternity! That is a great word to consider when life seems to be pressing in on all side.

There is an inspiring true story of Authur Stace, an illiterate alcoholic who was a child of alcoholics. He lived a seedy life until the day he heard the gospel and gave his life to Jesus Christ. Not long after, he heard evangelist John Ridley tell a congregation: “Eternity, Eternity, I wish I could sound or shout ETERNITY through the streets of Sydney . . . You’ve got to meet it, where will you spend Eternity?”1 After hearing this message Stace said, “Eternity went ringing through my brain and suddenly I began crying and felt a powerful call from the Lord to write Eternity.”2 He went on to say in an interview that:

The funny thing is that before I wrote it I could hardly have spelt my own name. I have no schooling and I couldn’t have spelt Eternity for a hundred quid. But it came out smoothly in beautiful copperplate script. I couldn’t understand it.2

Stace spent the next nearly 4 decades writing this one word throughout the streets of Sydney as a message to people as they went about the daily routine of their lives, going to work, going to the market. Wherever they went, they were confronted with the message of eternity. At the end of the opening ceremonies at the Olympics in Sydney, a huge illuminated sign on Harbor Bridge simply said “Eternity” in Stace’s distinctive handwriting, and hundreds of millions of people around the world saw it.3 Only in eternity will we discover the number of individuals who were touched by Arthur Stace’s simple one-word sermon delivered through his yellow chalk.

“LORD, give us a fresh vision of eternity this day, we pray in Jesus’ name.”

1http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/stace_arthur#page=all&ref=note1 accessed June 8, 2015
2Michael P. Jensen, Pieces of Eternity (Acorn Press Ltd.)
3http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/stace-arthur-malcolm-8615 accessed June 8, 2015