Zechariah 14:12 This shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh shall rot while they are still on their feet; their eyes shall rot in their sockets, and their tongues shall rot in their mouths. 13 On that day a great panic from the Lord shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of a neighbor, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other; 14 even Judah will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected—gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. 15 And a plague like this plague shall fall on the horses, the mules, the camels, the donkeys, and whatever animals may be in those camps. 16 Then all who survive of the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the festival of booths. 17 If any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain upon them. 18 And if the family of Egypt do not go up and present themselves, then on them shall come the plague that the Lord inflicts on the nations that do not go up to keep the festival of booths. 19 Such shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to keep the festival of booths.
Pretty intense huh? As you may already know, there was a time in history when Israel was defeated by surrounding nations because of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. Many Israelites were killed and much of the rest sent away to slavery or forced to flee to surrounding countries. It was awful. However, this passage also offered a promise from God. Yes, Israel would be defeated and humiliated, but that would not be the final word. Our passage for today describes a complete turnaround for Israel.
Rather than being a defeated nation, Israel would be restored to prominence by God. A great king would sit on the throne of Israel – a Messiah. The people of Israel would plunder surrounding nations, taking back what was stolen from them and much more. V.16-19 describes nations bringing tribute to Israel year after year and the punishment they would suffer if they didn’t. For a people utterly defeated and humiliated, this passage must have sounded like music to their ears. Revenge! Riches! Restoration! Glory! Victory! All of these things would be possible under the leadership of the Messiah, the One whom God would send to bring it all about!
But instead they got Jesus.
Instead of a mighty ruler on a throne, commander of a great army, they got a man hung on a cross in shame. I can only imagine the depth of the disappointment many felt. Jesus was nothing like what they expected or what the prophet Zechariah described. At least not yet. Will there come a time when every nation, every people, everywhere will bow before Jesus, recognizing him as king of kings? Absolutely. But instead of restoring only Israel at the expense of all other nations, Jesus came so that all people everywhere might become children of God by grace through faith.
What God brought about in Jesus far exceeded the outcome described by Zechariah.
In a similar way, I wonder what blessings God sends to us which look to us like disappointment. The bible tells us that God’s ways are not our ways. There are a couple of things that come to my mind this morning, things which are different than what I’ve been expecting but are potential blessings nonetheless. What about you? What blessings/opportunities are you missing because you’re looking in the wrong place or for the wrong thing? Lord open our eyes so we don’t miss the opportunities, the blessings, the grace you send our way. Amen.