10. Depending on God
God brings down the proud, but He helps those who are helpless, who depend on His deliverance.
“1 The oracle of the word of the Lord is against the land of Hadrach and Damascus is its resting place. For the Lord has an eye on mankind and on all the tribes of Israel, 2 and on Hamath also, which borders on it, Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise. 3 Tyre has built herself a rampart and heaped up silver like dust, and fine gold like the mud of the streets. 4 But behold, the Lord will strip her of her possessions and strike down her power on the sea, and she shall be devoured by fire. 5 Ashkelon shall see it, and be afraid; Gaza too, and shall writhe in anguish; Ekron also, because its hopes are confounded. The king shall perish from Gaza; Ashkelon shall be uninhabited; 6 a mixed people shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of Philistia. 7 I will take away its blood from its mouth, and its abominations from between its teeth; it too shall be a remnant for our God; it shall be like a clan in Judah, and Ekron shall be like the Jebusites. 8 Then I will encamp at my house as a guard, so that none shall march to and fro; no oppressor shall again march over them, for now I see with my own eyes. 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. – Zechariah 9:1-10
I. God Helps Those Who Depend on His Deliverance: Illustrated vv 1-9
II. God Helps Those Who Depend on His Deliverance: Incarnated vv 9-10
Quick Thought: The Servant King
In today’s text, we see the emergence of the kingly Servant theme when Zechariah memorably predicts the Servant’s coming: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Look, your king comes to you; He is triumphant and victorious, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war-horse Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command shalom to the nations.”(Zechariah 9:9-10)
Matthew explicitly cites the prophecy by Zechariah as Jesus rides into Jerusalem just a few days before his arrest (Matthew 21:5). Matthew introduces it with a familiar introduction: “This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet.” Donald Hagner makes this comment on Matthew’s usage: “Zechariah 9:9 is the deliberate frame of reference Jesus chooses to create by riding into the city on the foal of an ass. He comes as the king, i.e., the messianic Son of David. The messianic theme is strengthened and developed by the songs of the crowd (Psalm 118:2)”. Hagner concludes his comment on Matthew 21:5 with this insight: “He comes as the king … as a king indeed who will hang on a cross for his people”.
Jesus completes Israel’s story, but not by satisfying popular demands for military conquest. His victory is extraordinary indeed, and the enemies he defeats are not the ones walking the streets of Jerusalem with swords strapped to their sides. Instead, it was at the cross that Jesus finally lived up to his name, for it was there that He saved his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). He truly is the Servant King.