“Then the angel of the Lord said, “Lord Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years?” So the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.”
It seems as if the Lord has been calling His people to a commitment to special and earnest prayer for the revival of His Church. We are living through a time of increasing difficulty as Christian people. Everywhere we look we see the fruits of unbelief exhibited in the lives of others. When we look within ourselves we discover that we are not immune to the blight of this unbelief. We struggle with it, even becoming increasingly disturbed and discouraged by all that we discover in our lives. What are we to do? What are we to think? In Zechariah 1:3 we hear the command of the Lord to return to our God, so that He will return to us. This is what we want, but still we feel as if we are engaged in a great, if not impossible battle.
It is here that our text from Zechariah 1:12-13 is so helpful to us. This text comes in the first of the night visions which Zechariah receives in one night. These visions chart out what God’s people are to think and do in the centuries to come as they look forward to the coming day of the Lord. This first vision shows the Angel of the Lord, the second person of the Triune God, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, riding on a red horse which is standing in the midst of myrtle trees in a great deep. It is a vision, and is therefore to be understood with Biblical imagination as we seek to see what Zechariah saw. I do not have space to go into all the evidence here regarding the meaning of these images, it is sufficient for our purposes here to note that Zechariah is seeing the Lord among His people, standing with them, while they are immersed in the nations around them. As Jesus described in Luke 21:24 the times of the Gentiles have come upon them. These, it seems, began with the taking of Israel into exile, and as Daniel two begins to show they will continue until the full number of the Gentiles have been brought into the Kingdom of God.
I do not want our focus today to be upon the prophetic interpretation here however, because there is something much greater to be explored here. This is that, as Israel is wrestling with all of the difficult implications of her plight, the Lord is present, standing among His people. He is doing something much more significant however. Zechariah tells us that the Angel of the Lord is interceding for the people of God. He is lifting His voice in prayer for us. This is another passage in God’s Word that tells us that we are not alone as we live out our lives as believers. The Lord is praying for us. To understand the significance of this we need to turn to a nineteenth century preacher and author by the name of Robert Murray McCheyne who wrote the following, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me!” So why then do we fear? Why do we get discouraged? Our Lord is interceding for us. Right now, as we face the particular trials that are part of our lives, as we face persecution, as our lives seem to be almost impossible to deal with, the Lord is interceding for us. He is bringing our need before the Father. We are secure in His hands.
There is more here however. Not only is the Lord interceding for us but He is receiving an answer. God speaks kind and comforting words to Him. These are words that are meant for God’s people. That is these kind and comforting words are spoken to us, and are meant to bring great comfort. What are these words from God? To simplify what Zechariah records here they are words that tell us that God is working out His plan for our redemption even in these times of the Gentiles. Do you hear what God is saying to you? No matter how deep your trial is. No matter how discouraging or hopeless it seems, the Lord Jesus Christ is praying for you. Therefore your redemption is sure. He is using all of your circumstances for eternal good in your life. The bottom line is this He is standing with you in all that you are currently wresting with. Therefore Praise Him!