I wonder if Zechariah got nervous as he went to stand before God’s people and deliver His message. Perhaps he held out hope that Joash might turn back to the ways of God. I wonder if the thought of being killed that day ever even crossed his mind. For it was the Spirit of God Himself that had given him the message to tell and sent him to tell it.
“Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you” (v20).
He knew the promises of God. He had seen the kind of living He allows when His commands are lived out in full obedience. He knew the faithful covenant God who keeps His promises no matter what. He knew the one who even keeps the promise of His burning anger if Israel were to violate their part of the covenant. That’s the reminder he had for his people from God Himself.
We might never know the kind of courage it took for Zechariah to stand and rebuke his people. Afterall, his father had grown up with King Joash. They were cousins. Zechariah’s grandma had rescued Joash as an infant from Queen Athaliah’s tyrade when she killed the entire royal family and took over the throne. So their families were tight. Or at least they used to be. Surely their family history couldn’t hurt. Perhaps God would use Zechariah as He had used his grandfather — to restore Judah to right relationship with Himself.
But God had different plans. When His Spirit came upon Zechariah and used him to deliver His message, Joash did not like it. He didt like it one little bit. In fact, the family history flew right out the door of King Joash’s memory and thoughts of murder took their place.
So there Zechariah lay, Spirit-filled and dying. Yet hope came to mind and out it poured.
“May the Lord see this and call you to account” (v22).
He knew where true justice came from. True justice came from the hands of God alone. It still does. Even as he lay dying, Zechariah trusted God’s promise.
I don’t know what it’s like to be persecuted for my faith in Jesus Christ. Maybe you don’t either. But most of us likely know the experience of facing hardship when we expected resolution and peace. Therein lies the question that Zechariah’s life (and death) answered without words: will we trust the I AM God anyway? Will we trust His promise with such certainty that even in our dying breath we might look to His promise and know He is true?