The Coming of Zion’s King
Open Your Bible
Zechariah 9:1-17, Psalm 100:1-5, Isaiah 62:3
I like to be right. But it’s not always enough to be right.
As a child, I would pertly correct my little sister with bits of wisdom such as, “Frankenstein is actually the name of the doctor, so the monster could more accurately be called ‘Frankenstein’s monster.’” After that, my mom patiently explained to me that there is a difference between being right and being obnoxiously right. It’s important to know the difference, because even if the proper pluralization of “cul de sac” is actually “culs de sac,” you still kinda want to roll your eyes at someone for pointing it out. We’ve probably all been on the receiving end of someone else’s unsolicited commentary that is so obnoxiously right that they’re just wrong.
Christ, on the other hand, is always right. He is the definition of right. But—and this is the amazing part—He is graciously right. The Lord conquers graciously. He does not conquer us and then commence with trash talk or years of making us feel inadequate. To be conquered by Him is to win the greatest victory of all time. Remember Jacob, wrestling the angel of the Lord at Peniel—he was injured but that was the only way to win the victory (Genesis 32:22–31).
In Zechariah 9, we see how the word of the Lord promises to come against the lands that surround His people, places renowned for their wickedness, like Tyre and Sidon. Though these nations and peoples have gathered temporal wealth, God will strip it all away. Though they have amassed the might of violent arms, their pride will be destroyed. Their wealth will be cast into the sea, and they will be “consumed by fire” (v.4). This is the language of God’s judgment against the wicked.
But a striking thing happens: when their kings have been removed, their strength has been destroyed, and their hope has failed, then God will turn and be gracious. He will even make of them a remnant, as He had with the clan of Judah.
The image of the great King of Zion, riding on the colt of a donkey is the perfect depiction of Christ, who wages war with an offer of peace, and destroys His enemies with His own death. He confounds the wisdom of the world, and undoes the reasoning of our own hearts.
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem!
Look, your King is coming to you;
he is righteous and victorious.”
All too often, the Old Testament judgments of God are misunderstood and characterized as vindictive and punitive. But Zechariah 9 is a reminder of the true nature of His judgment. While He does indeed detest idolatry and wickedness, His judgments cannot be separated from His love.
I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’s statement in The Problem of Pain: “If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is ‘nothing better’ now to be had.”
The Creator of the universe has donned the garb of a servant to humbly wash the filth from our feet. As He did with Saul on the road to Damascus, our God comes to convert enemies into beloved children.
He stoops to conquer our hearts. Amen.