Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Zechariah 9:9-17.  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!

Zechariah 9:9 (NIV) 
9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 

On verse 9:  Here the LORD has a message for Jerusalem.  Through Zechariah the LORD tells Jerusalem to rejoice and shout.  Why?  It’s because their king comes to them.  Who is this king? The king being referred to here is the Messiah, the saviour king that the Jews had been waiting for.  Verse 9 describes this king as “righteous”, “having salvation”, “gentle and riding on a donkey”.  Jesus would fulfill this prophecy 500 years later.  Righteous, gentle, and armed with salvation, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey in approximately 33 A.D. (Matthew 21:1-5).

Why a donkey?  Scholars say that back in the ancient Near East, when a king was getting ready for war, he would enter a city on a war horse (as did Alexander the Great).  But if the king came in peace, he would enter on a donkey.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to fulfill Zechariah’s prophecy from five centuries before and to announce that he was bringing peace to the people, a peace that the world cannot give.  As Jesus Himself says in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Zechariah 9:10 (NIV) 
10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. 

On verse 10:  Many scholars believe verse 10 is a reference to Jesus’ second coming, when his kingdom will extend from sea and sea and he will usher a time of peace in the world, making weapons obsolete.  Especially in a time when countries, families and people are torn apart by war, it is reassuring to know that one day, through the rule of Jesus Christ, peace will reign.

Zechariah 9:11 (NIV) 
11 As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. 

On verse 11:  Like David in Psalm 63, we all find ourselves in a “dry and weary land where there is no water” — a “waterless pit” as Zechariah says.  But Jesus’ blood — “the blood of my covenant” — sets us free.  Isn’t it amazing that 500 years before Jesus died on the cross, the Lord had already spoken to Zechariah about the freedom we would gain through Jesus’ shed blood.

Zechariah 9:12 (NIV) 
12 Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

On verse 12:  Zechariah tells God’s people to return to their fortress, which is God Himself.  He calls them “prisoners of hope”, possibly because Zechariah was also addressing Jews who were still exiled or imprisoned in Babylon.   Through Zechariah God promises that He will restore to His people twice as much as they had lost — a double portion.

We too are “prisoners of hope”, people who have been captured by the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.  In Christ we have received a double portion of God’s grace: not only are we forgiven of our sins, but we are called children of God, priests in His kingdom, co-heirs with Christ.

Zechariah 9:13-15 (NIV)
13  I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and make you like a warrior’s sword.
14  Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south,
15  and the LORD Almighty will shield them. They will destroy and overcome with slingstones. They will drink and roar as with wine; they will be full like a bowl used for sprinkling the corners of the altar.

On verses 13-15:  Here Zechariah paints the picture of God taking Judah and bending her like a bow, and then taking Israel (“Ephraim”) and using her like an arrow to load that bow.  In other words, it’s the picture of God fashioning His people into a powerful weapon for His glory.

Some scholars believe that when Zechariah wrote verses 13 to 17, he was pointing forward to a conflict that would happen from 169 to 135 B.C. (200 years after Zechariah penned these verses) between the Maccabees, a Jewish group, and various leaders of Greece (like Antiochus IV, Antiochus V, Antiochus VI and Antiochus VII).  In that conflict, the Maccabees would prevail over these Greek leaders.  However, these verses also point to the day when God would prevail once and for all over Satan, mobilizing His people to fight the enemy, turning them into “a warrior’s sword” against the opposition.

So if you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ, you are a weapon in God’s hands to fight the enemy, Satan.  God wants to make you “like a warrior’s sword” in His hand, an instrument for breaking down Satan’s strongholds.

Also, how could we go from the image of the Messiah riding on a donkey and symbolizing peace (v9-10) to the LORD using His people as a weapon of war (v13)?  One lesson we can learn from this is that God’s peace is something you need to fight for, and indeed something that God fights for on our behalf.

Zechariah 9:16-17 (NIV) 
16 The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. 
17 How attractive and beautiful they will be! Grain will make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women. 

On verses 16-17:  As mentioned above, some scholars believe these verses may be pointing forward to a time of blessing and celebration when Jews known as the Maccabees prevailed over Greece (169 to 135 B.C.).  Even more, verses 16-17 are a beautiful picture of what God would do for people through Jesus Christ: calling us His flock (v16), rescuing us from danger (v16), giving us a royal identity like “jewels in a crown”(v16), making us attractive and beautiful (v17), causing us to thrive (v17), and blessing us with all that we need (v17).

Lord Jesus, thank You that when I was in a waterless pit, You came and rescued me.  You shed Your blood to save me.  Like a king riding on a donkey and proclaiming peace, You entered my life and brought peace to every place where there was fear and fighting before.  And now You’re fashioning me into a weapon, someone You will use to combat the enemy and demolish strongholds.  It’s great to be a part of Your kingdom.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

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