"Return to a stronghold, you prisoners who have hope; today I declare that I will restore double to you." Zechariah 9:12 CSB
I stood in the church, letting the words of the praise song wash over me, as tears ran down my cheeks. It was the first church service I had been to in nearly three years that was spoken in English. I didn't know a single soul in this church but worshipping with people who spoke my language and praising God with songs I grew up with, unexpectedly overwhelmed me for just a minute.
You see, I spent three years in Japan. There were no English church services, though we met with a group once a month for a Bible study. While I often craved a church service from home, I had no idea how much until that day I cried through the entire service.
Judah was under Babylonian rule for 72 years. They were prisoners because they refused to trust and obey God. Through Zechariah, God is calling His people back to Jerusalem. Zechariah gives them this good news, but He also offers the hope of a coming Savior who will be righteous and victorious and humble.
Yes, God is calling them back home, but there is a place that will be even better than the home they know on earth. And the way to that home is through the Messiah, One who is righteous, victorious, and humble. The home He will take all of us to is even better than the one that was restored.
I remember that overwhelming feeling of God's love and grace and the hope that filled my heart that day in church. Today, I understand better than ever, that there is the hope of even better worship to come when I worship with my Savior in heaven.
The Israelites were literal prisoners who had the hope that God offered through Zechariah. We know the love and grace that will take us to Zion when the broken world is restored. We are redeemed. We are prisoners of hope!