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There are two great senses in which we may take the verse; both equally true: both very, though not perhaps equally, comforting.
I. 'He that is feeble among them shall be as David.' The promise is to you; and so it had need to be. You, in all your infirmity you, so unequally matched with the prince of the power of this world a feeble soldier on one side, on the other, principalities, and powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places you, to resemble the most glorious Victor of all? You to be like Him in the time of His greatest victory? Even so: and in one particular of that victory you must more especially resemble Him. How did He conquer? Not with Saul's armour: not by the outward show of defence and attack; but by the commonest of all weapons, the five smooth stones, and by the sling which he had so often used in the little incidents of his shepherd's life. So of you: in and by little things you must achieve this conquest; by the ordinary circumstances of your life, for the most part, and not in great and out-of-the-way efforts or trials.
II. 'He that is feeble among them shall be as David.' But of that same David I read in another place, 'David waxed faint'. And it was with no common faintness, no common exhaustion that He Whom we love was faint for our sakes. When the darkness of death was closing over His eyes, and the damp of death was resting upon His forehead, and His tongue had spoken the last words of earthly love, 'Behold thy Mother!' David waxed faint with that faintness which needed the three days' rest in the grave to turn it into everlasting strength. Then the promise is, He that is feeble among you, shall, in that weakness, by that weakness, not in spite of it, but by means of it, be as David. But here we must take in three little words that we have hitherto left out. It is not every weakness that will make us like Him, any more than it is all pain which will make us like Him. We may suffer with the impenitent thief, as well as with Christ: we may be weak like Reuben 'Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel' as well as like Christ. So, to look at the text again: 'He that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David'. What day? When Jerusalem shall be on the one side, and the banded world against it on the other: when there is no thought of peace, no offer of quarter between the clean and the unclean, between the holy and the unholy: when the battle shall be as persevering and lengthened as it is earnest, then, 'he that is feeble among them shall be as David'. Now, take the condition, and you have the promise. Let your battle be like that of which the Prophet speaks.
J. M. Neale, Occasional Sermons, p. 96.
References. X. 11, 12. J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Prophets, vol. ii. p. 192. X. 12. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxx. No. 1805. XI. 2. P. M'Adam Muir, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxxi. 1907, p. 68. XI. 12, 13. W. Hay M. H. Aitken, Mission Sermons (2nd Series), p. 204. XII. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. 1. No. 2901. XII. 1. J. Leckie, Sermons Preached at Ibrox, p. 21. XII. 8. J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Prophets, vol. ii. p. 201.
We are to offer to God the sacrifice of broken and contrite hearts. Where shall we gain this offering? Here, as ever, this is true: we can only give to God what God first gives to us; and the answer conies in the words of our text. In it there is given to us the revelation of the genesis of contrition. In a day of religious indifference Zechariah is privileged to look upon a vision that kindles hope. He sees the people turning from their sins to God with deep contrition.
I. Contrition must be learned at the foot of the Cross.
Contrition is the breaking of the sinner's heart in union with the broken heart of Jesus. All contrition flows from the vision of the Crucified. Our Lord's death upon the cross was the expression of a perfect; contrition. He sorrowed with a perfect sorrow for the sins of men. He condemned those sins with a perfect condemnation. He bowed Himself down under the Father's hand, and bore the penance of those sins with a perfect conformity of will. His is a meritorious contrition.
II. Whence is it that there is this power in the.' vision of the Crucified to awaken and develop contrition in the penitent's heart?
1. There is an assimilating power in the vision of Jesus in His Passion.
2. There is an illuminating power. We see our sin, and we see the love of God, and we see the path of duty.
3. There is an attractive power. Sin loses its attractions.
George Body, The Sermon Year Book, 1891, p. 355.
References. XII. 10. R. A. Suckling, Sermons Plain and Practical, p. 15. J. Henderson, Sermons, p. 240. G. Body, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxvii. 1905, p. 185; see also Church Times, vol. xxix. 1891, p. 240. F. E. Paget, Helps and Hindrances to the Christian Life, vol. i. p. 135. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x. No. 575; vol. xxiii. No. 1362; vol. xlvi. No. 2683; vol. 1. No. 2901. XII. 10, 11. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxiii. No. 1983. XII. 10-14. Ibid. vol. xli. No. 2431. XII. 10-14; XIII. 1. A. Whyte, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lix. 1901, p. 387. XII. 12-14. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xliii. No. 2510. XIII. 1. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvii. No. 971. XIII. 1, 2. Ibid. vol. xli. No. 2431.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Zechariah 12". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13