Prisoners of Hope
In the ninth chapter of the book of Zechariah God is promising the restoration of Israel and the destruction of her enemies. Eight cities are listed (8=new beginning – When God destroys our enemies a new beginning takes place). These were cities of three major groups of enemies (unholy trinity). I. Syrians – Captured the Northern kingdom of Israel
A. Hadrach – named for a Syrian diety
B. Damascus – no known meaning
C. Hamath – Capitol of Syria – walled and protected
Syria represents a place of captivity outside familiar territory. We go there when the things of the world take up captive as a result of worshipping anything over God. In this place we build walls and live meaningless lives.
II. Phonecians – Original inhabitants of the Promised Land. Inhabited rich areas and were proud of their wealth. They were never fully conquered by Israel.
A. Tyre (Modern-day Beruit) – capitol; name means rock, sharp stone or knife; to cramp or confine.
B. Sidon – city north of Tyre known for its fishing industry. Name means to lie in wait to ensnare or entrap.
Phonecia represents generational curses never broken off our lives – often left unconquered so that they confine and ensnare us. We don’t recognize these because of the familiarity. We sometimes even use these to advance in the world (e.g. manipulation and control) as Solomon used the Phonecians and the wealth of their cities to build his own kingdom.
III. Philistines – the word means wanderer or stranger. Goliath was a Philistine and they are the current Palestinians. It was this group of people that the Judges had to lead Israel to fight because they were not fully conquered when the Promised Land was taken. Israel was treated harshly by the Philistines.
A. Ashkelon – weighing place; place of measuring (Daniel 5 – Nebuchednezzar was measured and found lacking).
B. Gaza – a royal city. Name means strong, vehement, harsh.
The Philistines represent the things in our lives that cause fear (giants in the land). These fears must be overcome or we are not "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37). These are sins we hang onto once we are saved that we still struggle with. The Philistine territory is the place between Syria and Phonecia. When we wander around with direction due to fear and unconquered sin, we end up in bondage.
God has not called us to remain prisoners of the things of this world, generational curses or our fears and unconquered sin. He has called us to be prisoners of Hope! (Zechariah 9:8-13).
Prisoner – aciyr– bound (from root of acar – to yoke or hitch, to fasten, to join, bind, imprison, tie, gird, harness).
This word carries the connotation of being tied to something. God does not want us tied to the past, to our generational curses, fears or the things of this world. He wants us to be tied to HOPE. Jesus said that His yoke was easy, His burden light (Matthew 11:29-30).
Hope – tiqvah – means a cord, expectancy, to bind together – stresses the straining of the mind in a certain direction with an expectant attitude. We are bound together with the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). When our way of thinking is changed, we become prisoners of HOPE and (Hebrews 11:1) our faith is built!
Jesus descended into hell after His crucifixion and "took captivity captive" (Ephesians 4:8) – the saints in Abraham’s bosom were captives of death, but they became captives of HOPE, captives of LIFE!
We can believe, through faith, that God will restore double to us what the enemy has stolen. We can be "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37) through Christ Jesus.
You see, Jesus fights the battle over our desire for the things of this world, our fears and our generational curses if we allow Him to do so. He frees us from this prison and asks us to bind (yoke) ourselves to Him. Paul said that, "Christ in us (was our) hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). Let’s become prisoners of hope, tied (yoked) to Him. As Paul encourages Titus, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…" (Titus 2:11-13).
Give up the prison of the desires for things of this world, fears, unconquered sin and generational curses and bind yourselves to Jesus as a prisoner of HOPE!