Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you. Zech 9:12 (NKJV)
HOPE SERIES – PART 7
Zechariah was a prophet to Israel around 500BC when the Jews had started to return to Jerusalem from their captivity in Babylon. The ‘stronghold’ is believed to be Jerusalem and it's representative of God our ‘Strong tower and fortress’ who protects and defends us on all sides.
I'll unpack this verse in two ways. Many commentaries and people interpret this verse as saying:
1) “… you prisoners WHO HAVE hope.” Commentators suggest that Zechariah is prophesying to those who were still in bondage not to dismay, for they still had HOPE in God; they would be returned to strength and a place of refuge both geographically within Jerusalem, and spiritually. The Isrealites were turning their hearts back towards God, making their pilgrimage home to His heart and His holy city.
If you’re in a prison of heartache, disappointment, abuse, broken relationships, failures… whatever it may be – DO NOT LOSE HOPE. Hold tightly to Jesus. No matter what situation you are in, He can walk through any wall of hurt or door of opposition to minister to your heart right where you are. He will stick with you through hardship and journey with you into healing.
2) “… you prisoners OF hope”. Others suggest that we can be imprisoned by hope – surrounded by it, like a mighty stronghold that nothing can breakthrough. It’s beautiful really… I can picture my life hemmed in by the grace of God, keeping me captive to His hope, ruined for anything else. When doubt, disappointment, opposition and others come to drag me away, they can’t unlock the hope that so tightly surrounds my life. I’ve been a prisoner of depression, heartache, confusion and failure… But when I met Jesus, He began to unlock those things from my life and gave me hope instead. Of course, I still face hardship; depression still knocks on my door… but the key to my soul is no longer readily available to them.
Wrap yourself up in the hope of Jesus; get entangled in it, surrounded by it, throw away the key so that you cannot escape it or untie it from your heart. It will lead you to a place of restoration and strength no matter what the circumstances.
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