Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Zechariah 9:1-8.  As usual, I encourage you to read the passage yourself first and see what you can glean with the Holy Spirit’s help, then read the GAME sharing below.  Let’s go!

In Zechariah 9:1-8, Zechariah receives a prophetic message from the Lord.  The message is that a number of famous cities surrounding Judah would be destroyed, while Judah itself would be protected and preserved.  About 150 years after Zechariah wrote down this prophecy, Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. would march through the region, destroying many of the cities mentioned in these verses, but sparing Judah.  It goes to show that God’s Word is reliable and God’s protection is real.

Zechariah 9:1 (NIV) 
1 The word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrach and will rest upon Damascus– for the eyes of men and all the tribes of Israel are on the LORD– 

On verse 1:  Damascus was the capital of Aram, which is modern day Syria.

Zechariah 9:2 (NIV) 
and upon Hamath too, which borders on it, and upon Tyre and Sidon, though they are very skillful. 

On verse 2:  Hamath was a famous city in ancient Syria and a province in the Persian empire.

Zechariah 9:2-4 (NIV) 
and upon Hamath too, which borders on it, and upon Tyre and Sidon, though they are very skillful. 
Tyre has built herself a stronghold; she has heaped up silver like dust, and gold like the dirt of the streets. 
But the Lord will take away her possessions and destroy her power on the sea, and she will be consumed by fire. 

On verses 2b-4:  At one time the cities of Tyre and Sidon were two prosperous economic centres situated along the coast.  That’s why when Zechariah talks about Tyre he refers to “her possessions and her…power on the sea” (v4).  However, after Alexander the Great sacked these two cities in 332 B.C., Tyre and Sidon never returned to their former prominence.

Zechariah 9:5-7 (NIV) 
Ashkelon will see it and fear; Gaza will writhe in agony, and Ekron too, for her hope will wither. Gaza will lose her king and Ashkelon will be deserted. 
Foreigners will occupy Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. 
I will take the blood from their mouths, the forbidden food from between their teeth. Those who are left will belong to our God and become leaders in Judah, and Ekron will be like the Jebusites. 

On verses 5-7:  Now Zechariah turns his attention to four famous Philistine towns — Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and Ashdod — all of which Zechariah says God will destroy.   This would happen 150 years after Zechariah writes down this prophecy.  In 332 B.C., after conquering Tyre and Sidon, Alexander the Great conquered these Philistine towns.  He captured Batis the king of Gaza, tied him to a chariot and dragged him throughout the streets of Gaza until he was dead — thus fulfilling verse 5 where Zechariah notes that “Gaza will lose her king”.

Having put thousands of Philistines to death, Alexander took the remaining Philistines and sold them as slaves.  The end of verse 7 predicts that some of those surviving Philistines would join the Jews, become believers in the Lord and leaders among God’s people in Judah.  In this way they would be “like the Jebusites” (v. 7b), a people whom David conquered and made a part of his kingdom.  This continues a running theme in the book of Zechariah about how people from different nations would become part of God’s people.

Zechariah 9:8 (NIV) 
But I will defend my house against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch. 

On verse 8:  God is passionate for His house.  He is committed to defending His house against opposing forces.  In this case, the house Zechariah is referring to is the house of Judah.  It is amazing that although Alexander was able to conquer so many established cities mentioned above, he did not conquer the city of Jerusalem.  Even though at the time Jerusalem was a weak and vulnerable city, yet Jerusalem has survived till this day and remains a vital and strategic city in our modern day world, while a number of these other more powerful cities mentioned in Zechariah 9 would cease to exist.  It goes to show that when God is committed to protecting His house, that house will stand despite the greatest opposition.

This God who protected the house of Judah is the same God who, 500 years later, fashioned a whip out of ropes and drove out the money changers who had turned His house into a marketplace (John 2:12).

This God who protected the house of Judah is the same God who protects you and me today.  As believers in Jesus Christ, we are God’s house, His temple.  And if God is committed to protecting us His house, there is no opposition that can destroy us.

As 1 Peter 1:5-6 says, we “through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.   In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”  In this world we will experience trouble, but God promises ultimate protection and safety for those who trust in Jesus, such that nothing can really harm us in the end.  As Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Lord God, thank You that You are committed to protecting Your house.  Thank You that I am covered in Your protection.  A thousand may fall at my side, ten thousand at my right hand, but because You are with me, no harm will befall me (Psalm 91:7).  Praise You, Lord, for Your Word that is reliable and for Your protection that is real.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

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