Day 10

Judah’s Security

from the Zechariah and Malachi reading plan

Zechariah 12:1-14, Genesis 12:1-3, John 3:14-17

BY Guest Writer

When we are being swept away by uncontrollable and terrifying circumstances, we search for an anchor, a declaration of truth, something we can cling to. This is true even when frightening events are relatively brief; their impact is felt long after that initial experience. The full force of this reality wallops us in this chapter of Zechariah. Jerusalem’s agony is palpable—a city in the path of violence, under siege, and attacked by all the nations. It’s hard to imagine the abject horror of their situation, especially for those of us who are blessed to live in peaceful, secure environments.

It’s no wonder then that the identity of the mighty Master of the Universe is pre-eminent. It is the Lord who stretched out the heavens, gave the earth its foundation, and shaped the spirits of humans, unpredictable though we may be. The clans of Judah, acting as a protective envelope around Jerusalem, emphatically restated this truth: “‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God’” (Zechariah 12:5). This is a perspective worth seizing, worth holding onto with all our might, especially when we feel beaten up. Our strength lies only in the Lord our God.

The people of Zechariah’s day knew their own recent history. Jerusalem had been under siege and the people had been taken captive to Babylon. This was the broken Jerusalem over which Jeremiah lamented (Lamentations 1:1–17). Some seventy years later, life in Jerusalem was still precarious. Even so, the prophet’s vision ranged far forward to a day of salvation and glory for Judah, for the house of David, and for Jerusalem. In the meantime, while Jerusalem would indeed be severely attacked, the people of the city would also be “a cup that causes staggering” and “a heavy stone” to all the surrounding nations (Zechariah 12:2–3). It’s a not-so-subtle warning to consider the consequences before attacking Jerusalem.

But now the picture takes an odd turn. The house of David and those who lived in Jerusalem would be compelled to plead for mercy as they look upon the Lord, the one they had pierced. That piercing reverberates into the crucifixion of Jesus (John 19:36–37). This sense of calamitous loss and deep need for repentance overwhelms any triumph that might have surfaced in the immediately prior events—and that is as it should be.

Jerusalem and the whole land would mourn, but the greater emphasis is on each “house” by itself—the house of David and his son, Nathan; the house of Levi and his descendant, Shimei. Echoes of kings and priests. Women, traditionally the mourners (Lamentations 2:5; Jeremiah 9:17–22), were intentionally separate and profoundly engaged in the repentance necessary for the forthcoming cleansing fountain (Zechariah 13:1). And clearly, there is more to come.

Elaine A. Phillips received a BA in social psychology from Cornell University, an MDiv from Biblical Theological Seminary, and an MA in Hebrew from the Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem, where she and her husband, Perry, studied and taught from 1976–79. She holds a PhD in rabbinic literature, and teaches Biblical Studies at Gordon College. She also serves as a historical geography field instructor for Jerusalem University College. She has published a commentary on Esther in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary; a devotional book, With God, Nothing Is Impossible; and, most recently, An Introduction to Reading Biblical Wisdom Texts.

Post Comments (23)

23 thoughts on "Judah’s Security"

  1. Rachel Kelley says:

    I hit post by accident earlier! I love how Zach 12:1 describes God – 1The oracle of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him.

    When you are reminded of that, you see how easy it is for our God to bring all this prophecy to pass. And then the follow on of Zach 12:5 – we are strong because our God is strong. I will be walking forth in more confidence today because this God who founded the earth loves me and has chosen me and will uphold me with his right hand.

  2. Rachel Kelley says:

    I love how Zach 12:1 restates God’s power –

  3. Ashley Thomas says:

    When I read these scriptures, I am reminded instantly of the song “Say the Name of Jesus.”
    “Say the name of Jesus/Say the name of Jesus/Say the name so precious/No other name I Know

    That can calm your fears, and dry your tears and wipe away your pain
    When you don’t know what else to pray
    When you can’t find the words to say
    Say the name”

    I certainly cry out to Jesus when I am in the most desperate of situations, but I also cry out in praise. I thank God for my blessings, no matter my circumstances.

  4. Angie says:

    Do we realize what it means to be God’s chosen?
    The measure of it?
    God defends his own.
    He goes before His children and blinds enemy horses.
    Causes those who try to push his children around to be injured by the weight.
    Makes the… weakest… like the glory of the house of David.
    Pouring out a spirit of grace and prayer,
    and we realize,
    we have been grafted in…
    what He did for them,
    He does for us.
    we mourn the one we have pierced
    Jesus, our Savior and Lord was lifted up.
    The Son of God, given
    the Sacrifice for our eternal life
    for our saving.
    Could our God get any bigger, any better, any more breathtaking?
    We think it is not possible,
    And. Then. He. Does.
    And again.
    Moment by moment.
    And some day, FOREVER,
    Face to Face.

  5. Susan Merritt says:

    Please pray for our nation, our leaders, our rights, we are so blessed that we live in a country of peace. It may not always be like this in the future. I can’t imagine living in Jerusalem when all this destruction was happening. Lord, I pray that our nation never forget you.

  6. Churchmouse says:

    Praying for you, Mari, as you embrace this milestone with your son. How exciting and yet.. We prepare them, and ourselves, for this day and yet…
    Thank God that He is already there at that college, with your son and his friend and his professors and with you and your daughter as you drive back. Rest.In Him. He’s holding all in His hands. Let your mom tears flow for they show the depth of your love for this son He entrusted to you. Well done, momma. God will continue to provide for you both.

    Hugs from here, friend!

    1. Mari V says:

      Oh Churchmouse!!! Thank you! Your words mean a lot to me. I’m here now in the hotel getting our things ready to move him and his friend into this college

  7. Mari V says:

    Your prayers are appreciated today. Today those of you have seen Toy story 3, I am living it today. Your prayers are appreciated as we travel six hours south to drop off my precious son to college. A Christian college. I am so grateful. Please pray that the finances will continue for him. Please pray that we will be safe. Driving down with my best friend as her son is my son’s best friend. They’ve been buddies since birth. On Saturday my daughter and I will travel back alone. My heart!

    1. Amy W says:

      Praying for you Mari V. I love that we can express our thoughts and needs here and that our sisters in Christ can encourage and lift us up. Praying for safety and peace as you entrust your son to the Father.

  8. Mari V says:

    I stand here today as a testimony of God‘s faithfulness. He has never left my side. He will never leave your side. Trust Him! And so true what Elaine states this morning‘s devotion regarding frightening events. Sometimes we still feel the impact long after the initial experience. Oh yes, I still cry many times and I am scared but i’m not who I was two years ago. Because of God, and only because of God I am stronger.

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