Originally posted at joshuastairhime.com
“We shall be saved from our enemies. ”
Zechariah was prophesying over the birth of Jesus, the beginnings of the Christmas we celebrate even now, 2000+ years later, when he said the above.
You should understand that Israel was an occupied country at this point, it had been taken over by the Romans, and like most occupied nations, they Israelite’s weren’t thrilled about it. So when Zechariah prophesied that Jesus would save them from their enemies, they had a specific enemy in mind that they wanted to be saved from. If we fast forward 33 years, we find that Jesus has perished at the hands of the Romans. Those who believed Jesus was who he said he was had to feel utterly crushed. The man who was to save them from their enemies, was dead, at the hands of their enemies.
We, with the benefit of 2000 years of hindsight, understand what happened, and realize that God fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy in a way the people living in that time, experiencing the events first hand couldn’t understand. They could not have possibly known Jesus would come back from the dead. Especially since the only person they had ever seen raise someone from the dead, was in fact Jesus!
The Hebrew people thought that the Romans were their enemies, but God had the biggest enemy of all in mind when he inspired Zechariah to speak those words.
I think we expect God to save us from our enemies, to bring peace into our lives in the same way the Hebrew people expected Jesus to do. We expect God to deal with the very specific enemy that is directly in front of us that we can see, hear, and touch. I suspect that many times, when we ask God to restore peace to our lives, He acts immediately, but he acts against the real enemy in the situation. We think God is not answering, but he is really dealing with the larger problem at hand that we are perhaps totally unaware of.
So when I, or you, ask God to bring peace into a situation and you do not see results, ask yourself if maybe you don’t understand who the enemy really is.
Jesus is after all the Prince of Peace.
I suspect he understands exactly how it works.
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us[h] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”