1 A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: 2 “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. 4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. 5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’ ~ Zechariah 12:1-5
Today, we transition into Zechariah 12. In this chapter, we have four features of Israel’s coming deliverance and salvation: The siege of Israel, the shielding of Israel, the sorrow of Israel, and the salvation of Israel. These are dealt with in this twelfth chapter of Zechariah. Today, we will consider the siege of Israel.
As we have long seen in the Scripture, Israel plays a major role in the redemptive plan of God on this earth. There is coming a day when God will bring to a close the drama which includes Israel, the Church, Satan and the Lord Jesus Himself. Throughout the Scriptures, God has predicted these things repeatedly. God has done this so that we will not lose heart when life gets most difficult. This is what the Lord is doing in today's text. He is reminding Israel that before the light comes, it will get dark first. And, in the end, those who have had a very tragic history will experience the miraculous nature of God and He will reverse everything and He will give His people a future that will well outweigh the struggles of the past.
In v.1-2 of today's text we read, "1 A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: 2 “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem."
Today's passage begins with a reminder of God's identity. He is the One "who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person."
The One speaking here is the One who made the Milky Way galaxy with its one hundred billion stars. And, the Milky Way galaxy is just one of many other galaxies. The Milky Way galaxy is about 100 light years in diameter. Our God is the One who created light speed. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. If we were to strap ourselves to a beam of light and travel for 100,000 years, we will have traveled the Milky Way galaxy in its fullness. By the way, we will have traveled six trillion miles. All of this is to say we were made by an incredible person. The God of the Bible is really big.
And, when we find ourselves worried about the things of this life, we must remember the One who stretched out the heavens, the One who laid the foundations of the earth, the One who made all things, the One who formed our spirit within us, He has all things in control and we can trust Him.
Now, as indicated in v.2, Jerusalem has always been in the spotlight. It is rather obvious that God's hand of covenant has always been upon Israel, not because of anything they have done, but because He determined to support them in their weakness. In fact, throughout history, the Jews have blown it big time and in many ways, but God long ago made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. Because of those promises, God brought the people of Israel back into the land over and over, and, His hand has and will always be upon them.
In Deuteronomy 7:7-9 we read, "The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath He swore to your forefathers that He brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands."
Despite this, Jerusalem will yet again be besieged. In fact, God will draw her enemies on her in the last days. As we are about to see, it is obvious at the end of v.3 that all the nations of the earth will be gathered against Israel in this siege. And, we know at the Battle of Armageddon, the whole world will be against Israel. This will be a worldwide battle where all of the nations of the world converge on Israel in an effort to wipe Israel out.
In v.3 of today's text we read, "On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves."
A total of sixteen times in Zechariah 12-14, God says, "On that day." And, that day is the day of the Lord. There will come a day when the whole world will hurt themselves when they try to hurt Israel. And, in all of this, we are given one of the greatest apologetics for the existence of God. How many times has the world tried to snuff out Israel? And, all of it to no avail.
In v.4 of today's text we read, "On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations."
Here, God is directing this prophecy of siege but it’s also a prophecy of salvation. God allows and accentuates these events for Israel, so that they will have the confidence to believe that it will come to pass. The end result doesn’t depend on man, it depends upon the unchanging immutable God, this God who isn’t thwarted by anything else. He has been and He is always faithful to bring His promises to pass.
In v.5 of today's text we read, "Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God."
The nations will attack Jerusalem. We know this, because it’s detailed for us in many places in the Bible. And, although Israel's enemies will attack Jerusalem, as this prophecy points out, God will protect Israel and Jerusalem.
In John 16:33 we read, "In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
The Lord Jesus spoke these words to His disciples who were about to go through the hardest moments of their lives. But, as in the case of Israel in today's text, the disciples would come out on the other side better equipped in their walk with the Lord. The same is true for us. We will have hard moments, but we can rest assured that each unwanted moment has its purpose. God not only uses tribulation to get us out of our mess, but most importantly, God uses Tribulation to get us to Him. This is the purpose of it all: that we would be convinced the Lord Jesus has overcome the world and that He is our destiny. He is the victor and He has seen fit to include us in on His winning side.