In distant lands they will remember me . . . and they will return. Zechariah 10:9
Walter Dixon had five days to honeymoon before he shipped off to the Korean War. Less than a year later, troops found Dixon’s jacket on the battlefield, with letters from his wife stuffed in the pockets. Military officials informed his young wife that her husband had been killed in action. Actually, Dixon was alive and spent the next 2.5 years as a POW. Every waking hour, he plotted to get home. Dixon escaped five times but was always recaptured. Finally, he was set free. You can imagine the shock when he returned home!
God’s people knew what it was to be captured, moved far away, and to long for home. Due to their rebellion against God, they were exiles. They woke each morning yearning to return, but they had no way to rescue themselves. Thankfully, God promised He’d not forgotten them. “I will restore them because I have compassion on them” (Zechariah 10:6). He would meet the people’s relentless ache for home, not because of their perseverance, but because of His mercy: “I will signal for them . . . and they will return” (vv. 8–9).
Our sense of exile may come because of our bad decisions or because of hardships beyond our control. Either way, God hasn’t forgotten us. He knows our desire and will call to us. And if we’ll answer, we’ll find ourselves returning to Him—returning home.
Where do you sense exile in your life? How are you hearing God calling you, showing you how to return home?
God, I feel far away from You. I know You’re near, but I feel so distant. Would You help me to hear Your call? Would You bring me home?
For a relatively short Old Testament book, Zechariah is quoted extensively in the New Testament. There are at least seventy-one quotations, with thirty-one found in Revelation. Twenty-seven are found in the Gospels (fourteen in Matthew, seven in Mark, three each in Luke and John), with many occurring in the accounts of the last week of Jesus’ ministry. Zechariah 9–14 speaks of a human king (9:9–10) and a divine king (14:1–17). It also points to a figure whose suffering brings redemption (12:10–13). With the incarnation of Jesus these images are brought together into one person. As the son of David, Jesus could claim the human throne. As God in human form, Jesus fulfills the prophecies of the heavenly king who comes to earth, including suffering for the sins of the world and bringing forgiveness. When He comes again, He’ll bring His kingdom to earth.