“And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,” declares
The Lord, “and I will be its glory within.”
Zechariah was a prophet from 520-518BC prophesying around the same time as Haggai. The people of God had returned to Judea but were being oppressed by neighboring nations. They were discouraged and had neglected to rebuild the Temple. It had been nearly 20 years. The people were living comfortably but the Lord’s house lay in ruins. First Haggai pointed this out to the people and called them to rebuild the Temple. He told them that the reason they were not prosperous was because they had neglected the Lord’s house. He encouraged them and they responded. Then Zechariah came on the scene and his message complimented Haggai’s. He called for them to renew themselves spiritually and prepare themselves to once again worship in the house of the Lord once it was completed.
In Zechariah’s first vision, the Lord assures Zechariah He has returned to show mercy on Jerusalem. His temple would be rebuilt and the towns of Israel would again overflow with prosperity. God would once more be their comfort and choose Jerusalem as His own. (1:16-17)
The second vision tells of God’s intention to destroy the nations who were oppressing them. They did not need to be afraid of them. (1:18-21) The third vision is about the future prosperity of Jerusalem and how God would be their protection. That’s where our verse is found. Just like God had protected Israel when they left Egypt in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, He would once again protect them. He would be a wall of fire around Jerusalem and be the glory within the city. He would come to live with them once again! This was good news!! Other OT prophets had given the same message, but now the people were ready to hear it. They were ready to listen.
I’m not saying we should constantly tell our children the same message of repentance and return to the Lord to receive His favor and if we keep doing it, one day they will be ready to hear it. Only God could lead you in a specific direction like that...what to say and when to say it and how often. But we can picture the day they will return, when they will be ready to hear the message (and it may come through someone else or their own memories of the Lord from earlier years). We can envision and pray for the day when once again the Lord will be a fire of protection around them and He will be the glory within. God wants this even more than we do. The OT prophets wanted to see Jerusalem flourishing again and have a vibrant relationship with God, but God wanted it even more. We can trust the God who loves our prodigals more than we do. As King’s kids, He is watching and waiting for their return. As the Good Shepherd, He is out looking for them and actively working through our prayers. As the Spirit, He is wooing them back. He wants to be the glory within!