In which the exiles acknowledge the leaders God raises up for the nations among whom they live, and for God’s own people
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the heavens to divide the day from the night, and they shall be signs for the fixed times and for days and years, and they shall be lights in the vault of the heavens to light up the earth.” And so it was. And God made the two great lights, the great light for dominion of day and the small light for dominion of night, and the stars. And God placed them in the vault of the heavens to light up the earth and to have dominion over day and night and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And it was evening and it was morning, fourth day.
In the second year of Darius in the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the LORD came through Haggai the prophet, saying, “Say, pray to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel the prefect of Judah and to Joshua son of Jehozadak the high priest and to the remnant of the people, saying, ‘Who among you remains who saw this house in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes?’ And now, be strong, Zerubbabel, said the LORD, and be strong, Joshua son of Jehozadak the high priest, and be strong, all the people, said the LORD, and act, for I am with you, said the LORD of Armies. Remember this word that I sealed with you when you came out of Egypt and My spirit was standing in your midst. Do not fear. For thus said the LORD of Armies: Soon I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake the nations, and the precious things of all the nations shall come, and I will fill this house with glory, said the LORD of Armies. Mine is the silver and mine the gold, said the LORD of Armies. Great shall be the glory of this house, the latter more than the former, said the LORD of Armies, and in this place I will bestow peace, said the LORD of Armies.”
Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, Cyrus. Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, Joshua. Lights to have dominion of the darkness, the exile (ordained by God, and proclaimed good) and lights to have dominion over day, the restoration of Judah and Jerusalem.
Those who declare that God is King of the Universe are also called to see God’s hand in the ascent, and the giving way, of leaders of the nations, and the Church. In our time of unprecedented climate crisis, we lift our present leaders to God asking that they may have courage to do what is right, and pray that God would raise up future leaders who will exercise their delegated dominion with integrity, trusting in God’s promises.
Biblical texts: Robert Alter, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary