The Man With the Measuring Line

Sermon from CCM Fallowfield



This sermon was preached by Tom O’Toole at the Fallowfield site of Christ Church Manchester on Sunday 24th July 2022.



This sermon was based on Zechariah 2.

A Vision of a Man with a Measuring Line

1 And I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand! 2Then I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.” 3And behold, the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him 4and said to him, “Run, say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. 5And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”

6Up! Up! Flee from the land of the north, declares the Lord. For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, declares the Lord. 7Up! Escape to Zion, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. 8For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye: 9“Behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me. 10Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. 11And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 12And the Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.”

13Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.


The Man With the Measuring Line


  • Zechariah was a prophet speaking at the time of the return from exile.
  • Many of their exiles had built lives in Babylon and the return to Jerusalem was not immediately appealing.
  • Zechariah offers reasons to make this seemingly risky step that God was calling them to.


Promise of Significance

  • A potential worry for those returning would be whether many would come. Compared to Babylon, Jerusalem appeared small and insignificant.
  • We can sometimes have similar worries about what God calls us to.
  • God showed Zechariah a man with a measuring line who was to measure Jerusalem as a city without walls, due to the great multitude there. The nations would be ingathered.
  • We see the same image picked up in Revelation of the New Jerusalem measured and thousands of miles in size.
  • This promise does not mean that everything we do will work and grow, but it does mean the Kingdom of God will grow, and as we are faithful in following him we will be part of something sizable and significant.


Promise of Protection

  • The promise of ‘a city without walls’ would not be encouraging in the ancient world and would highlight the vulnerability of those returning!
  • City walls were there to protect.
  • In light of this lack of worldly protection, God promised to be a wall of fire around his people.
  • The ultimate place to look for our security is in God.


Promise of Presence

  • The most important question to ask of anything we do is ‘is God in this?’
  • Zechariah relays the promise from God that he will be present in their midst in Jerusalem.
  • We can experience God’s presence, and we can lean on the truth that he is always with us and will never leave or forsake us, because of what Christ did for us on the cross.


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