Expectations; December 11, 2022

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

This was of course directly fulfilled on Palm Sunday, but we don’t often think about all the implications. The image is certainly a triumphal procession, but there are some elements that betray the usual image of such events. “Salvation,” in the usual context of such events, would have been military victory, symbolized by the king riding a magnificent war horse. However, in the very next verse it says that war horses will be removed from Jerusalem. Rather, this king, whom we know to be Jesus, would be riding on a donkey’s colt. There were those in the crowd on that Palm Sunday who recognized that Jesus was fulfilling this obviously Messianic passage, but I doubt that even they understood the implications. Donkeys are good, reliable animals, but they aren’t something you would ride into battle, and particularly not on one so young that it was still stabled with its mother. (Matthew 21:2) Jesus was without question the Messiah, but He didn’t fit people’s expectations, so they turned on Him and called for His crucifixion. We are all very prone to do that. We set up scenarios in our minds, and when events don’t match we are disappointed at least, and quite possibly in despair, or even rebelling against God who didn’t do things our way. How very foolish! God is always bigger than our imaginations, and He sees all the consequences down the line that we can’t begin to grasp. History keeps affirming what has been called the Law of Unintended Consequences. We need to trust God that He knows all the details, and what will affect what and do what. The world’s biggest supercomputers are used to model such things as benign as weather patterns, and even they don’t always get it right. We need to trust the One who alone is omniscient, and rejoice to know Him and His love.

This is something I have been slow to learn. Being too afraid of unintended consequences produces paralysis, and then I face the consequences of inaction. I need to trust God to guide me and commit myself to follow Him, even when I can’t see the next step. I need to be willing to ride a donkey’s colt even when I long for a war horse! I am not to indulge in painting scenarios in my mind, but rather submit myself fully to my Lord for however He knows things should go, so that I will be fully useful to Him and indeed rest, relax, and rejoice, just as He has told me to do.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for how You have indeed guided, not just in recent weeks but throughout my life. May I not be anxious about anything but rather rejoice in You, being the husband, father, and pastor that You want me to be, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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