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Annually on July 17
Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. (Zechariah 9:12)
The redeeming grace of Almighty God is wonderfully portrayed in this great promise to God's people who were in Babylonian captivity. True that they were prisoners; but prisoners of hope. They were now free to return to their homeland but they had nothing to bank on. All they had was destroyed by the ravages of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. Their homes, their fields, their temple; all lay in ruins.
Yet, they had a promise to hold on to. The God against whom they had sinned resulting in their captivity had forgiven them and was willing to restore them. In fact, he was willing to restore twice as much to them.
Believers are in a way, prisoners of hope. As Paul the Apostle says,
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!
I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far. (Philippians 1:21-23)
Problems in life often brings despair to the believer, yet we have hope that Jesus will not leave us nor forsake us in any circumstance. Even when we sin and punishment comes into our lives, we can always be sure that the Lord will forgive us when we repent and bear fruit that comes from a repentant heart.
Carried away by the enemy and living in a foreign land humbled the Israelites. They repented of their sins and cried out to God who was ready to forgive them. God effected their deliverance and they returned to their own country as "prisoners of hope."
God loves you and is able to restore twice as much of what you have lost.
Posted by Dr. Johnson Cherian