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The Scriptorium

Warning to Persecutors

God sees. Zechariah 12.1-9

Return from Exile: Zechariah 11-14 (2)

Pray Psalm 125.1, 2.
Those who trust in the LORD
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the LORD surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.

Sing Psalm 125.1, 2.
(St. Gertrude: Onward, Christian Soldiers)
All who trust in Jesus, strong as Zion stand!
Naught shall ever move them from their promised land!
Like the hills surrounding safe Jerusalem,
Christ surrounds His Church and holds her in His mighty Hand!
Refrain, v. 1
All who trust in Jesus, strong as Zion stand!
Naught shall ever move them from their promised land!

Read and meditate on Zechariah 12.1-9.

1. How did God remind the people that He is sovereign?

2. What did He promise to do for His people?

We recall that, as those who returned from exile in Babylon were working on the temple, they were being menaced by the surrounding peoples (cf. Ezra 4). It must have seemed to the people of Judah and Jerusalem that chances of finishing the temple and restoring the nation were slim.

God drew on an image He had previously revealed through Daniel (Dan. 2.44, 45) of His people becoming an indestructible stone to overthrow all nations and empires (v. 3). He promised to frustrate every weapon and asset the enemies of the Lord might bring against His people and, at the same time, to look with favor on them (v. 4). He will give them “governors” who will reinforce their confidence in the Lord (v. 5) and whose rule will burn like the fire of God (v. 6). Under their shepherding oversight, the people of God will live in peace and know the salvation of the Lord (vv. 6, 7).

God will defend His people against all enemies, so that even the weakest among them will be like David against His foes, and like the Angel of the Lord against all His adversaries (v. 8). Any nations that dare attempt to destroy the people of God will be tossed into history’s dustbin (v. 9).

In our own day we have seen an example of how God fulfills His Word with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. For seventy years Soviet regimes persecuted Christians, but the Church continued to grow throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. Ultimately, beginning with the “Candlelight Revolution” in Romania (recall the “fiery torch” of v. 6), the whole house of cards came down. It’s not the first time such has happened. All who dare to persecute the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ should take note.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Here is the warning to the persecutors of God’s people (Zech. 12.1-4):
Our LORD GOD stretched out the heavens.
He laid the foundation of the world.
And He formed the spirit of man within him.
He is Sovereign, and He rules all.
He warns that He will strike His enemies with:
Confusion, madness, and blindness.
And that’s just their physical condition.
Their eternal situation is even more dire.

The Triune God made man to glorify Him and enhance His creation:
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…so God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them’” (Gen. 1.26, 27).

The Triune God created the earth and its people for His service:
“Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment;
like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed.
But You are the same, and Your years will have no end.
The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You” (Ps. 102.25-28).

The Triune God created the heavens to shout His glory:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their sound has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (Ps. 19.1-4).

The Triune God has created all things for His purposes:
“The LORD has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom” (Prov. 16.4).
“Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes,
I have made him” (Is. 43.7).

The Triune God has made a way for all people:
To glorify Him, enhance His creation, serve Him fully, shout His glory, and be changed for His purposes,
and His alone.

The Triune God has made a way for His persecutors:
To become His people. Look at what He did for the Persecutor Saul, who became His Apostle Paul,
who wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5.17).

“Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter” (Prov. 24.11). Because godly warnings can lead to redeemed, restored, and righteous lives. Look at what He’s done for you and me.

O how He loves you and me, O how He loves you and me;
He gave His life—what more could He give?
O how He loves you, O how He loves me,
O how He loves you and me!
(Kurt Kaiser, 1975)

For reflection
1. Why is it important always to remember that God is sovereign?

2. How does knowing God is sovereign encourage you in working your Personal Mission Field?

3. Whom will you encourage today with the reminder that God is sovereign?

Desirable indeed is it that the examples and labors of Christians should render them as fire among wood, as a torch in a sheaf, to kindle the flame of Divine love, to spread religion on the right hand and on the left.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Zechariah 12.1-8

Pray Psalm 125.3-5.
Pray for believers who are being persecuted in various parts of the world, that God would give them strength, protect and care for them, and do good to them as they are good to their tormentors.

Sing Psalm 125.3-5.
(St. Gertrude: Onward, Christian Soldiers)
Wickedness shall rest not on this holy land.
Sinfulness shall never come forth from their hand. 
Trusting in the Savior, firm in His caress,
ever shall His favor on this holy city rest.
Refrain, v. 1
All who trust in Jesus, strong as Zion stand!
Naught shall ever move them from their promised land!

Lord, do good and care for those upright in heart.
All who turn to evil shall from You depart.
Sinful men may increase, on their way to hell!
Save Your people, let your peace abound in Israel!
Refrain v. 1

T. M. and Susie Moore

Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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