9 A prophecy:
The word of the Lord is against the land of Hadrak
and will come to rest on Damascus—
for the eyes of all people and all the tribes of Israel
are on the Lord—
2 and on Hamath too, which borders on it,
and on Tyre and Sidon, though they are very skillful.
3 Tyre has built herself a stronghold;
she has heaped up silver like dust,
and gold like the dirt of the streets.
4 But the Lord will take away her possessions
and destroy her power on the sea,
and she will be consumed by fire.
5 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.
6 A mongrel people will occupy Ashdod,
and I will put an end to the pride of the Philistines.
7 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 a clan in Judah,
and Ekron will be like the Jebusites.
8 But I will encamp at my temple
to guard it against marauding forces.
Never again will an oppressor overrun my people,
for now I am keeping watch.
(Zechariah 9:1-8 NIV)
From our last few sessions together, we walked through chapters 7 – 8, where God was looking inward, focused on Jerusalem and Judah. The Lord was ushering in a renewed relationship with Himself and a new day in the corporate life of His people.
In today’s passage, the Lord looks outward to the neighboring nations and their fates. Remember in the book of Jeremiah where the Lord predicted that the conquering armies would come from the north (Jeremiah 1:14-16)? Now the Lord is saying that He will come from the north to protect Jerusalem and all His people in the land of Israel.
It’s important to note that scholars generally agree that these predictions come with a wide time span, and are more of a description of an end result rather than of a particular time period. Some of these events referenced seem to refer to events that the Lord has already completed in the past (around the eighth century BC). Other events seem to refer to events that were happening in Zechariah’s timeframe (fifth century BC). Still, other events seem to reference what will happen in the future.
The Lord begins his conquering journey in Hadrak, one of the northernmost cities in the Persian kingdom. From there, the Lord heads south to Damascus. From Damascus, the Lord heads further south in His drive to take back His own, conquering Hamath, Tyre, Sidon, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and Ashdod.
Even the Philistines, the archenemies of the Lord, will give up their detestable dietary practices and follow God’s direction concerning food (what to eat, how to prepare it, etc.), as the Lord breaks their pride and self-sufficiency (v. 7).
Finally, the Lord will arrive in Jerusalem and will protect His people and His land with His army. No one and nothing will be able to overtake them again.
In today’s passage, we see a great reminder of what God has said about Himself throughout the centuries, and what He had John record in His final revelation:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 NIV, emphasis mine)
May we remember that the same God who took care of the ancient Jewish people is the same God who cares for us, who loves us, and desires to walk with us each day.
May we rest in His care and protection, assured of His promises no matter what we’re going through.