Waiting as we Adore the King

Advent 2023  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Christ is to be adored as we await his birth. He is still God, although not yet Incarnate.



Turn with me in your Bibles to Zechariah 9. We are going to have our focus in verses 9-13. What does it mean to adore? Is it a thing or a person, or both? Adoration has several meanings like “to regard with loving admiration and devotion” or “to be very fond of” or “to worship or honor as a deity or as divine” (all three definitions are Merriam-Webster).
We adore children and grandchildren, athletes, musicians, and others whom we admire. We show our devotion to them don’t we? The myriads of pictures that we have of loved ones, the sports teams we follow, and the certain restaurants and diners that we go to. These all go to show where our affections lie and, in turn, whom and what we adore. Now, none of these things are wrong things to admire or adore. The Lord has put people in our lives that mean a great deal to us. There are things we adore to don’t we? Maybe it’s the vehicle we own or the house we have. We show adoration and devotion by buying from certain brands. Even if none of these fit you this morning, I am sure there can be something found in your life that you adore.
Might I ask, where is your adoration focused this morning? Are you maybe looking forward to having time with family and friends? Maybe you are looking forward to the long weekend ahead with Christmas being a little more than a week away.
Let me ask one more question. Where should our adoration be focused this morning, or better yet, to whom should it be given?
We are here this morning to worship and adore our great God, are we not? The prophet Zechariah gives us 7 reasons that we should adore the Lord this morning. And here they are. 1. He is righteous (v.9), 2. He is humble (v.9), 3. He has salvation (v.9), 4. He shall speak peace (v.10), 5. He keeps his promises (v.11), 6. He rewards those who come to him, and 7. He leads and directs his people (v.13). Let’s read Zechariah 9:9-13.

1. He is righteous (v.9)

We begin our time together in verse 9. I want us to start at the beginning with the great shouts of rejoicing and excitement. As we go through this text, we are going to see several similarities with Micah 5. The first of those similarities is found at the beginning of this verse. There is a cause for great rejoicing that follows a rather bleak picture. I must give some context here. The first 8 verses of this text speak about Alexander the Great. Does anyone remember him from history class? He was the great conqueror of the Greco-Roman world between 356-323 BC, who thought he was divine to a degree. I say that this time was rather bleak because Israel was not immune from being conquered. Ptolemy, who was alive at the time of Alexander would take Jerusalem shortly after he died in 319 B.C. So, why the history lesson? Because I want us to now see that Christ is far superior to any earthly ruler, yet he is lowly according to “kingly” standards.
Now we come to the description of the Messiah. Zechariah starts us off appropriately with the king being righteous. Notice the particular unction of this being “your king.” The king of the Jews is righteous. This is a distinct characteristic of our Lord. Although Christ may have been of lowly stature according to earthly kings that had gone before or after him, he is the only king who has the title of righteous.
As we think of those who have gone before us, those whom we admire greatly like the apostle Paul, Noah, or Abraham, none of these are like the Lord. If I were to ask you who would you want to see most in heaven, my hope is that it is the Lord. Sometimes, we get caught up in the people of today. It is so easy to type in a preacher or teacher that we have grown fond of and listen to him or her for a long duration of time. It is also easier to access books and writings of those of old. But here is the reality, I don’t care how good a book might be on a particular topic, biblical or not, not one of those books aligns with the righteousness of God that we find in Jesus Christ in whom the Bible speaks about. It is the righteous Son of God in whom we adore because he alone is righteous.

2. He has salvation (v.9)

Second, our Lord has salvation. This is another unique quality that the Lord has. Have you heard of another ruler having salvation? Have you heard a leader proclaim such a thing? Of course, you have not, this is of the Lord and him only. What does it mean for the Lord to have salvation? The Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) defines this as “He (Christ) is (being) victorious and triumphant.” What is Jesus victorious over? He is not victorious over Alexander the Great, but the sin that is within humans. He holds righteousness in his right hand. Salvation is of the Lord, so why do we adore the Lord?
We adore the Lord because he has salvation, but also because he grants salvation. In the kindness and mercy of God, he has brought forth his son as the means for us to be saved. God does not keep this to himself. He is not like one of us, who can be prone to holding back that which we could give to another. All the more reason for us to adore the coming king. It is this child born of a woman, conceived of the Holy Spirit, who holds salvation in his right hand and invites sinners this day to come to him for the saving of their souls. Unbeliever, won’t you come today to the one who can save you from the sin that you harbor in your heart? It’s not to late, repent and trust in Jesus today.
There is another meaning of salvation that we need to consider and that is the aspect of being saved or of persevering. What do I mean? Zechariah 9 and Isaiah 53 cross paths on several occasions about the subject of the preservation of Christ. May Isaiah 63:5 help us to understand, it reads, “I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me.” In other words, Christ is entirely self-sufficient. He upholds himself by his salvation. Is your mind blown? Our God is great and worthy to be adored.

3. He is humble (v.9)

Third, our Lord is humble. How does the Lord show his humility? By riding on a donkey, a beast of burden. This is in sharp contrast to how Alexander the Great would have arrived or been greeted. The humility of Christ is seen clearly in the advent child. What is more amazing is that Christ, in all of his power, majesty, and glory (far greater than Alexander) chose to come as a babe in a manger.
This verse tells us that as Christ rides on a beast of burden, so he will bear our burdens as well. Remember the words of Christ in Matthew 11:28-30? “Come to me, all who labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
All of this humility found in a person who can foretell future events about himself. John 12:12-16 is the fulfillment of this passage in what we call Jesus’ triumphal entry where we find him entering Jerusalem on a donkey.
This prophecy speaks of the second coming of Christ, which we find intermixed in verses 10-12. My hope for us this morning is not to focus, solely, on the second advent of Christ, but seeing that in both advents, Christ is worthy of our worship and because he is, we must adore him. It should come from the overflow of our hearts in gratitude and praise.

4. He shall speak peace to the nations and rule over them (v.10)

That being said, we move on to verse 10. What I want us to consider regarding adoration is found in the middle of the verse. Now last week we saw Christ as ruler. This text says the same, but I want us to see it in the midst of his work over all and amidst all the nations. Notice that the beginning of verse 10 uses words of war. There is the chariot of Ephraim and the war horse of Jerusalem. The text tells us that the King will do away with these things and this is where the peace of God comes in.
Now, if there was a reason to adore the Messiah, this might be it. Christ is the only one who can bring absolute and complete peace on earth. Here, in the second coming, Christ will establish peace on earth where he will reign. Some believe that this refers to the millennial period that is spoken of in Revelation 20:1-10 (MacArthur). I am not going to dive into that topic this morning, for we miss the point.
This peace on earth that is from Christ also refers to a dwelling safely or securely. Much different from the world that we live in, Christ will usher in true peace between peoples. Under Christ’s rule there can be no war. Why? War occurs because of the sin that lies in man’s hearts. War is because man wants something from another and he goes to war to get what he wants. For the people of God, when wars occur, as they are today, you and I can dwell securely in Jesus who is our peace.
Notice that Christ does not bring forth peace by warring. He does not force the nations into submission by defeating them all and bringing them under subjection to his will. How does he do it? He does it by the very peace that is found in Christ. There is peace in Christ unlike humans who do not have peace. How do we know this? We know this because mankind is always searching for peace. How about the conflict in the Middle East or in Ukraine? How many times have we heard cries for ceasefires and for the wars to end and be resolved? If man were peaceful or had peace within him, then there might be a ceasefire on these terms. When do ceasefires occur? Usually when the one country has taken over another or has forced them into submission, then the fighting stops.
Not with Christ, again in sharp contrast to human rulers, he comes bearing peace. The Israelites would have remembered this when Ptolemy came knocking at the door.
Notice the vastness of the rule of our Lord. See what the text says! His rule is “from the River to the ends of the earth.” In other words, there is no part of earth that will not be under the rule of Christ! Unlike nations of this earth that only rule certain sections of land mass, Christ has the power to overcome the entire earth (Psalm 72:8-11, Micah 5:4, Revelation 11:15). Which he should because he created it (Hebrews 1:8-14).
In contrast to the first 8 verses of chapter 9, Christ will oversee all things and govern everywhere. Even with all the might that Alexander possessed and the power that he displayed in battle does not come close to the absolute and total rule of Christ. Do you see the humility of the Lord coming to earth as a babe in a manger? This all-powerful ruler king born in a stable.

5. He keeps his promises (v.11)

We move to verse 11 where we see the fifth reason to adore the king and that is “He keeps his promises.” The covenants of God are powerful. Permit me to explain in a negative way. See, without the blood covenant being given, the people of God are not freed. Do you see this in verse 11? Zechariah writes “because of the blood of my covenant with you…” This covenant is done entirely by God himself.
There is another promise that is kept and that is that there is freedom from the waterless pit. I love the imagery of the Bible! A pit was used to bury people in, most times this was a mass burial. A waterless pit was devoid of anything nourishing. A waterless pit was uninhabited, in other words, it would see no visitors. Jeremiah was lowered into a waterless cistern because of his prophecy that anyone who would stay in Jerusalem would perish at the hands of the Chaldeans (Babylonians) (Jeremiah 38:2-6). This was a means in which they were going to kill him.
This can also be a type of spiritual dryness, hence the pit being waterless. There is no life where there is no water. There are several commentators that vary in thought, but what we can glean from this is that we are promised living water. “But whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

6. He is secure (v.12)

The sixth means of adoration is seeing that Christ rewards those who come to him. He gives us security and hope. Let us dig a little into these things. Look with me at verse 12. The verse starts with “Return to your stronghold…” which tells us that this is a place of security.
Why are we told to return? Because, in Christ, he has promised to keep us. Psalm 94:14 tells us, “For the Lord will not forsake his people.” The Hebrew helps us understand the depth of this verse. The Hebrew word for stronghold is Bizzaron and this is the only time it is used. I think you will find this helpful. This word means to dwell secure because it is an inaccessible place. In other words, we dwell securely in Christ because we are untouchable under his loving care and affection. Does this mean that you and I will struggle and have difficulty? Yes. But he is ALWAYS there to love and comfort us as his children.
Prisoners of Christ are the only prisoners that truly have any hope. Again, this is in the midst of difficult times. Those who are bound to Christ are those who have hope in good and in bad. Have you ever considered yourself a prisoner of Christ? Because in Christ, we are bound to Him! This is not in a negative sense as in woe is me for I am a prisoner of Christ. See the privilege it is to be a prisoner of Christ! Turn with me to Isaiah 42. We are going to read the first 9 verses. Take special notice of the prisoner portion, but don’t jump ahead without hearing the rest of the verses. Why? Because it makes being a prisoner of the Lord that much sweeter! Isaiah 42:1-9 starting in verse 1.
Did you catch it? Who is the prisoner in the dungeon? Who is the prisoner in darkness? That WAS YOU AND ME!!! And yet beyond this Christ continues and will continue to bestow his riches upon you and me. Turn back with me to Zechariah 9.
Now there was the real hope that the Jewish people would be liberated throughout history. And that is where we go back to the beginning of Zechariah’s prophecy. There hope is not found in earthly rulers and policies that are made, but in the “king who is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he.” It is Christ who liberates prisoners of sin. He is their hope. Similar language is used in Micah’s and Zechariah’s prophecy regarding a strong and solid place. Micah used the word ‘refuge’ and Zechariah uses the word ‘stronghold.’ They both mean that Christ is your and my refuge and stronghold. He is the stronghold of those who are imprisoned.
The term restore might seem like a refreshening of sorts, but it is not so. The Hebrew refers to this word as “to return” the exact same way that the beginning of the verse starts. See, there is a promise for those who return to the stronghold of Christ, there is a return that is double in proportion. This is not to be taken literally, in that every person gets exactly a double portion of the reward. We should take it to mean that the reward is great for those who have their hope in Christ (Revelation 21-22).

7. He leads and directs his people (v.13)

We turn our attention to the final reason that Zechariah gives for us in this set of verses as to why we should adore the Lord and that is that God leads and directs his people. I want to be clear from the get-go, verse 13 refers to his second coming. I say that because I don’t want us to think that is relevant to today. What I do want us to see is that the promises of God in the future are true for us today, in principle. If we were to sum up verse 13 there would be a few avenues that we could go. I want us to see the control and direction that God has over his people. This does not mean that we are robots, but it does mean that we are under the will of God and therefore, he will use us as he sees fit.
He does this not just to show us his might, but so that we would adore him, that we would worship him. God wants our worship. Because Judah was not true in her worship, God said this about their sacrifices. “Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations – I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly” (Isaiah 1:13).
But their will be a day when both Judah and Ephraim (also known as the Northern Kingdom i.e. Israel) will be obedient and like clay in the Lord’s hands ready for service. God leads and directs his people to one place: himself. He is the final resting place for his children.
So, as we see the power of God in that he will wield his servants for battle, so we see the power of God as he leads us in our every day lives regularly pouring forth service with gratitude to him. We are not sheep without a shepherd, we are not an army without a commander, God is ever present in our lives as shepherd and commander. In our ever-continued worship and adoration of God, we see him more clearly as leader and director. After all, who could have ever conceived the thought that the Son of God would come as a baby in a manger first, on his God given mission to save mankind?


In conclusion, I am sure that we could find many more ways in the Bible where we see the need to adore God. Brothers, we adore God in the same way that prophets adored the coming king whom they were prophesying about. As we live awaiting the second advent might I encourage you as you adore the king.
1. Adoration is what we worship. Is there anything in your life that has your worship or adoration that is not named Jesus Christ? If so, God knows what it is. He longs to have the number one spot in your affections and worship. Would that be the case for those of us who have put our trust in him today? Might this week be a week full of adoration, praise, and worship to the soon to be newborn king.
2. Oh, that our adoration of Christ not be squeezed into a few short weeks, but that it might be the mark of us as Christian believers all the yearlong. Are you known as a Christ worshipper in your family? Do your co-workers know it? They will see it by the affections of your heart. How you view the world around you are reflective of whom or what it is you worship. Shine brightly Christian, for you don’t know the impact that your life can have upon someone who has not come to the cross.
3. For those whom Christmas might be a hard time due to loss or other tragedy or for those of us who know someone that this time of year may be difficult, may it be our aim to show the love that Christ has for them to them. Might our worship of God lead us to be a comfort to those who are hurting. That we would love and care for others, the way that our Lord loves and cares for us.
Psalm 63:1, 3 “O God, you are our God; earnestly we seek you; our souls thirst for you; our flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water, yet your steadfast love is better than life, our lips will praise you” (my rendition).
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