Prisoners of Hope

Mark Fackler

READ : Zechariah 9:11-13

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope. (v. 12)

“Life is action and passion,” observed Oliver Wendell Holmes, a renowned Supreme Court justice who was also a Union officer wounded three times in the Civil War. Zechariah puts a finer point on it with his call to hope for God’s captive people and his image of Israel as a swinging sword in God’s hand, wielded against the oppressor (v. 13).

Hope is the passion we need, hope that goes beyond wishful thinking or whimsical daydream. Hope needs grounding in reliable promise. Only God can give that. Hope carries us through trauma and loss. With eyes of hope we see what only faith in God’s goodness can imagine.

Hope drives us forward. That momentum needs the fuel of God’s power working in ways that stretch and shake us. The image Zechariah uses is a “warrior’s sword.” Imagine a samurai charging your enemy—whatever holds you in bondage—and you get the picture of this powerful image. Zechariah announces hope that sets you free and power that overcompensates for your puniness. What’s the reason for believing this message? Because God said it.

God has put his own character and integrity on the line. Hope and power are all about God, nothing less, nothing more. Do you know him? Then be hopeful, swing that sword. Set someone else free.


Lord, spark my day with eyes that see beyond my weakness.