“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.” Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)
Is there a desperate cry within your heart that you’re longing with every fiber of your being to see come to pass?
I know what that’s like.
In my own life, I’ve watched minutes turn into days and weeks into years, as I’ve tried to learn to make some sort of spiritual peace with seasons of waiting.
On my good days I stand assured, “It’s just not God’s timing yet.” But on my less stellar days I crumble, afraid and hurt, “God, why? When? You know how much my heart is aching.”
What is that hurt, that desire, that prayer you’ve brought to God countless times?
If we turn back to the Old Testament in our Bibles, specifically the book of Zechariah, we find the Israelites in a place of crying out in desperation for the arrival of their great and glorious King and His Kingdom. While they have returned from Babylonian exile, discouragement has set in as they look at the state of their lives. Their enemies remain unpunished. The temple has yet to be fully rebuilt. And the partially rebuilt city of Jerusalem feels like a mere shadow of what God has promised it will one day be. (Zechariah 1:14-17)
The words from the prophet Zechariah in our key verse are a declaration to the children of God that hope is on its way: “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” (Zechariah 9:9).
Hope that is reiterated in passage after passage of Scripture that refers to the coming King and His Kingdom — Isaiah 62:11; Jeremiah 30:9; Daniel 2:44-45; 7:27; Micah 4:1-8.
The promise is sure. Their story isn’t over. Their King is on His way.
But the salvation they are expecting? The ultimate deliverance they truly need? It won’t show up for another 500 years. A fact we see when we look ahead in our Bibles to the exact moment the Zechariah 9:9 prophecy is fulfilled.
It’s a moment recorded in all four Gospels as Jesus enters Jerusalem on a colt during the last week of His life. (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-38; John 12:12-16) As Jesus rides down the Mount of Olives toward the Eastern Gate, the crowds rejoice and shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9) These shouts reveal both their desperation and their expectation.
They long to be set free from Roman rule — expecting Jesus to become their king on earth and right the political injustices they face. But there’s a vast difference between the people’s expectations and Christ’s purpose. If He were merely a political king, the Messiah probably would have ridden a horse or stallion. However, when Jesus enters, He enters on a donkey! This significance is immense.
Not only was Jesus riding on a donkey fulfilling prophecy, it also signaled Jesus had a different plan and purpose. He didn’t come to bring a temporary victory by becoming an earthly king through battle. He came to bring an everlasting victory by becoming the eternal King who died on a cross to save His people.
What a powerful reminder that God’s ways are sometimes opposite of what we want and expect. We need to remember to consider what God’s purposes are and align our expectations and desires around His.
Zechariah never saw the fruit of the prophecy. And Jesus’ own disciples didn’t see the significance of His triumphal entry until much later. Knowing this helps me when I start to struggle with the timing of circumstances in my own life. I often want to immediately see the good that God promises, but sometimes God’s good answer is “not yet.” There is a timing to everything.
You may be living under a promise of God but not yet see the fruit of that promise. You might pray for something that hasn’t happened yet and even see no hope of it ever coming to pass. Though we may not understand, we must trust God’s timing is perfect.
Our God is a God of completion. He makes promises and then He fulfills them. Even if we don’t see it in this life — He will complete what He has set out to complete.
Father God, thank You for reminding me today that I can trust You in my wait. When my circumstances and my own weary heart beg me to believe You have forgotten me, help me remember You are still very much at work. Even in the silence. Even in the unknown. Even when I can’t see anything on the horizon. I want to trust You more and more each day — knowing that not only are all Your ways perfect, but Your timing is perfect too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Psalm 18:30, “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” (NIV)
When God doesn’t move how or when we hope He will, it’s easy to start pulling back from Him in distrust. Shift your suspicion that God is cruel or unfair to the biblical assurance that God is protecting and preparing you with Lysa TerKeurst’s newest book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. Pre-order your copy here today and get the first three chapters immediately!
Start your day with encouragement from Lysa TerKeurst and the First 5 writing team with our free First 5 app.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
Are you currently in a difficult season of waiting? How does knowing that God is a God of completion encourage you today? Share a verse you cling to as you wait, or add your own experience with God’s perfect timing in the comments today.
© 2018 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.