12 A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel.
The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: 2 “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. 4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations.5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’
6 “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
7 “The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. 8 On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. 9 On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.
(Zechariah 12:1-9 NIV)
Chapter 12 begins the last section of the book of Zechariah. Taking a quick summary of our last few times together, we saw the Lord walk through the timeline of Zechariah’s day, then jump to Jesus’ time on earth, then fast forward right past us to the end of the world when Jesus will come again (Zechariah 10:10 through 11:17). Chapters 12 through 14 are now focused on the events that will occur during those end times.
Zechariah begins by announcing what we’re about to hear – a prophecy – the word of the Lord concerning Israel (v. 1a).
The Lord begins by reminding everyone that He was the One that stretched out the great canvas of the heavens and painted the stars and galaxies in place, that He was the One that built the foundations of the earth we inhabit, and He was the One that formed the very spirit of humanity within each person.
So why does the Lord begin like this? To remind His people (and us) that He can care for His own regardless of what the enemies of God will throw at Him. If God can do something as big as creating the heavens and the earth, and something so very small as forming a spirit within each person, then surely He can defend His people.
Verse 2 starts with Jerusalem and the region of Judah surrounding Jerusalem as an irritant to all the nations around them. Just as the Lord made Jerusalem and Judah drink the cup of His wrath during the height of their willful disobedience (Jeremiah 25:17-18), now the surrounding nations have to drink that same cup of God’s wrath because of their unbelief and harshness toward God and His people (Jeremiah 25:19-26).
Jerusalem’s enemies want to harm the city and its people, either individually or by joining forces with others that have set their hearts to do so. However, the Lord says that the nations that seek to harm Jerusalem will only harm themselves (v. 3).
Verses 4 – 7 describe what will happen to those who try to harm Jerusalem and its inhabitants. God’s protection stretches out to the inhabitants of the Judean region surrounding the city of Jerusalem as well as the city itself.
Verse 8 tells us that God will empower His people to fight against the enemies of God. Even the weakest of the Jewish people will fight like the mighty warrior-king David. The Jewish warriors will fight way above their training and physical strength as if they were angels fighting for the Lord.
And what is the fate of those nations that come against Jerusalem? The Lord says that He will ultimately destroy them in the end (v. 9). Remember that this is a prophecy set in the future, even for us.
Isn’t it great to know that we know the outcome of the world, and God is victorious against all evil and will one day serve justice on those who fight against Him?
May we fight valiantly for truth and justice, and know that the Lord goes ahead of us and fights the battles against evil and unrighteousness for us and with us.