Zechariah 9:12 Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope;
even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.
This verse has been loved as a promise of restoration ever since it was recorded, but it has been misunderstood at least as much as it has been received as God intended it. It is clearly in the context of the coming Messiah, since verse nine was explicitly fulfilled by Jesus on Palm Sunday, but the mention of “a warrior’s sword” in verse 13 led the Jews of Jesus’ day, at least, to expect this to be fulfilled in a strictly materialistic, military way. The fact that Jesus refused to lead a military rebellion was a major cause of many Jews rejecting Him. However, as Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36) It’s not that the material is unimportant, but that it is entirely secondary. As Jesus so famously said, God will supply all our needs, but only if our focus is on Him and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) Coming back to this verse in Zechariah’s prophecy, we need to understand what has been taken from us in order to understand what will be restored to us. The simplest way to understand it is to consider the fruit of the Spirit. Paul listed that as, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Those are precisely the things the devil tries to take from us, and they are certainly the ingredients of a truly blessed life. God will indeed restore them to us in double measure if we are submitted and obedient to Him.
I’ve heard this verse quoted most often in terms of spiritual revival, such as the Great Awakening that happened just before America’s Revolutionary War, or the Shantung Revival that happened in China just before WWII, and that’s certainly appropriate, but I have also heard it quoted in terms of material goods. Jesus did mention that in talking to His disciples, (Matthew 19:29) but even then he capped it off with “eternal life,” which is a spiritual value. I would dearly love to see a spiritual revival in Japan that would dwarf all others in history, but I obviously can’t make it happen. I follow my parents in that desire, and they didn’t see it happen with their physical eyes. However, none of that precludes God bringing it about in His strength on His schedule. I am to maintain hope, however much of a prisoner of my flesh and my circumstances I might feel, and trust God to bring it about on His schedule for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I pray that I would be fully available to You for whatever You want to do through me, but not get in Your way when I’m not on the agenda. May I always have hope and strive for Your kingdom and Your righteousness, leaving everything in Your hands, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!