A City to Grow Old In
Zechariah 8:4-5 (Message) A Message from GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies: "Old men and old women will come back to Jerusalem, sit on benches on the streets and spin tales, move around safely with their canes—a good city to grow old in. And boys and girls will fill the public parks, laughing and playing—a good city to grow up in."
While reading Zechariah 8:4-5 today under the heading of, “The Coming Peace and Prosperity of Zion,” I was so blessed by this wonderful promise of God. I rarely quote from the Message, but it painted such a beautiful picture of our text that I decided to use it.
The two phrases that stuck out to me the most are, “grow old” and “grow up” perhaps because it reminds me of the little town that I grew up in. Even though I left my little town at a young age it was still a great place to grow up and grow old in.
My life has changed a lot since those carefree days out on the farm but my love for it has not changed. Like most young men after leaving the farm, I spent many years trying to climb the mountain of success and making my place in the world. As a result, I had little time to actually think about a great place to grow old in.
As I look back over the years I suppose I did climb my mountain, and I did make my place in the world, and I did reach my goals … but for some reason I don’t seem to be any further ahead than anyone else. I may or may not have accumulated a few more possessions, but possessions are not what this whole thing is about … is it? I guess it depends on one’s perspective. I won’t deny the fact that things look different when one is looking up at them, than they do when one is looking down at them.
As a carefree country boy my pleasures were simple. They ranged from rabbit hunting, to eating the heart out of a fresh watermelon under a shade tree, to riding my horse on Sunday afternoon with my friends, to laying in the hayloft pretending to be rich, to even becoming a western movie star. My imagination knew no bounds.
As I sit here today meditating on our text, I seem to see a side of God that seems to be different than any other side, and that difference is overwhelming. I have always known that God had a place prepared for us when we die, and even a place in Him that we can abide in now … but our text is talking about a place that is prepared for us when we get old. I am not sure I ever though about that.
That seems to indicate that our text is much more than just a beautiful picture of peace … it truly is a call for meditation and purpose and rest.
As I look back at my own carefree days as a farm boy, maybe there were some valuable lessons that the Lord was trying to show all of us future hill-takers, that we either did not learn or we forgot. Going up and taking the mountain … is not necessarily growing up … and it is certainly not the same thing as establishing a place to grow old in.
Thank You for showing us this picture in the scripture. It gives us such a deep since of satisfaction and fulfillment to know how You feel about the elderly. We too want to provide a place of peace for the hill-takers of the past.