The next prophecy used by Handel in the Messiah was in Zechariah 9:9-10. He only uses a portion of these verses in the script.
“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.”
These words point to Jesus’ coming at a special time. This is just before the cross and Jesus enters Jerusalem mounted on a donkey. The people praised Him that Palm Sunday waving branches as they sang His praises. Matthew 21:7-9 “They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Zechariah’s words were given hundreds of years before and Jesus fulfilled them exactly! Zechariah also says that He will be righteous, coming to save and bringing peace to all nations that seek Him. We see those completely fulfilled in Jesus’ life. He came as the righteous Lord, Psalm 145:17 “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.”. He came to bring righteousness to us, 1 Corinthians 1:30 “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” He came to bring peace. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Those that seek Him do not go away empty handed nor empty hearted.
Rejoice today in the righteousness of God, His Peace and Jesus’ righteousness imparted to you and me to save us from our sins.
This name for God comes out of Gideon’s mouth after his encounter with Sovereign God. The Midianites had been ravaging the land and the Israelites were living in fear. They had been worshiping other gods and God was not pleased. God appeared to Gideon and called him to lead the people. Gideon asked for a sign that the LORD was really calling him. So the angel said he would wait while Gideon prepared a meal offering for him. When Gideon brought the food, the angel instructed him to take the meat and unleavened bread and place it on a rock and pour out the broth. Gideon did as the LORD asked. Then the angel touched the food with his staff and fire flared from the rock and consumed the food. “22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. Judges 6:22-24
Is the Lord your peace? Gideon discovered that God could bring him peace in the oppressed and fearful situation in which he found himself. God could replace his fear with peace. God encouraged Gideon to trust him for life and turn away from fear. God did it for Gideon those centuries ago and He can do it for you and me today. Claim God as your peace. Jesus promised in John 14:27 “ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Take Him at His Word and step out in faith today leaving your fears at His feet.
Courage comes from knowing Jesus,
So far in this study of ‘heart’ passages, we’ve looked at the Lord’s work and the true nature of our hearts. Today I want to begin examining passages that speak of a transformed heart. What makes a heart committed to Jesus different from one that is not?
In Romans 12:1-2 Paul speaks of what a transformed life would look like. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Paul describes the believer as one who is sold out for God, desiring to please Him, being transformed by God and not brought down and conformed to this world. One that is transformed would have a changed heart. That heart change is what we will be looking at in the next few blogs.
The New Testament believers lived together supporting one another in their new faith. Acts 2:46 describes them. “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,” Their encounter with Jesus reflected on their day to day life and gave them glad and generous hearts to view their world. Does your faith create in you a sense of thankfulness? Are you filled with Joy simply because you know Jesus?
In John 14:27 Jesus was speaking to his disciples shortly before facing the cross. He described the kind of heart the He would give to them in faith. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” A heart that loves and follows Jesus has no reason for fear or anxiety. 1 John 4:4 reminds us, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” The heart Jesus gives us is made for peace, loves peace and seeks peace. Do you have the peace that Jesus promised today? Look to Him, release all your worries and fears into His hands. He will give you His peace.
Take a few moments to think about your heart today. Do you feel generous and glad in heart because of Jesus? Do you have His peace in your heart? Be assured He intends for you to have a heart that is overflowing in all areas. I love the assurance of Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Jesus keeps His promises. Trust Him to give you generosity, joy and peace today.
My heart is new in Jesus each day,
As the psalmist nears the end of his lengthy outpouring of praises and petitions to God in Psalm 119:161-168, he lays bare before God his struggles with persecutors. He relies upon God’s Word and character to uphold him. “Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at your word. I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.“(161-2) He knows that God’s Word contains power to overcome and sustain. He considers it a treasure. He also discovered that as he called upon God throughout the day he received peace and had strength to face the tough circumstances he encountered. ” I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just. Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble. (164-5) The psalmist concludes with what he knows about God. He is the one who saves. “I long for your rescue, Lord, so I have obeyed your commands.” (166) God knows him intimately and loves his obedience. “Yes, I obey your commandments and laws because you know everything I do.” (168)
Is God’s Word a treasure for you? Do you gain power to overcome by reading and meditating upon it’s truths? Do you pray throughout the day reminding yourself of the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit? Do you find peace? Do you obey and trust God because you know His character? Do you know that He knows you personally? Can you join the psalmist in obedience to God’s Word because of who He is and what He does? The psalmist trusted God in all things and called upon Him throughout his day in faith. Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 and 6 “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Making God real involves faith in who He is and what He has done for us in Jesus. Pleasing God involves seeking Him and accepting the gift of faith in Jesus. He promises sincere seeking will be rewarded by faith.
Walking by faith in God and His Word is the psalmists answer to life’s problems, may it be mine also.