Summary: Exposition of Zech. 6
Who’s Running This Show?
Sometimes it’s not easy to know who’s running the show.
Pete’s telling a friend how he’d lost his job. “Why did the foreman fire you?” the friend asks. “Oh,” Pete says, “you know how foremen are. They stand around with their hands in their pockets watching everybody else work.” His friend asks “But why did he let you go?” Pete answers, “All the other workers thought I was the foreman.”
Usually it’s not too hard to know who’s running the show at the job or the school; but sometimes it’s not so easy figuring out Who’s running the show called life. Some say it’s the people with political clout who run the world, or the people with the most money, or maybe even the people in Hollywood. Others say, “I’m in charge of my destiny; I decide what happens in my life.” Still others declare, “Nobody’s really running this show; things just happen with no rhyme or reason.” But the Bible tells us there really is Somebody Who runs this show:
Psalm 103:19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 115:3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.
That’s the way things are; but that’s not always the way things seem. Live long enough and you will be tempted to wonder if God really is running this show. You might ask: why is evil so powerful, why am I hurting so badly, why don’t my prayers get answered, why do things get so mixed up and confusing? How can I know that God is really in charge of this world and my life?
Tonight I want to take you back to some folks who probably struggled with some of these same questions. A group of exiles trying to rebuild a life among the ruins of the once great city of Jerusalem had some doubts about who was running the show. Ask the average Joe and they would tell you the king of Persia was ruling the world. But God sent a prophet named Zechariah to tell His people that He was still running the show. In the last vision Zechariah records in Scripture, God reminds us of some demonstrations of the truth of His sovereignty over this world, and over your life. How does God demonstrate He’ s running the show?
I. BY DEFEATING HIS ENEMIES (v. 1-8)
To understand this vision, you have to refer back to Zechariah’s first vision in Zech. 1:7-17 where these same horses are first mentioned. In that passage, the horses were patrolling the earth, reporting back to God about what they saw. But in this vision, these same strong steeds are hitched up to battle chariots. They thunder forth from between two bronze mountains, a symbol of God’s heavenly throne. They are driven by 4 spirits, who are eager to ride out. When the Lord gives the order they ride off, the black horse heading north, followed by the white horse, while the dappled horse heads south, presumably followed by the red horse.
Why are they riding out? V. 8 gives us a clue: God says, they …have given rest to My Spirit in the north country…
I’m sure when Zechariah delivered this message, all the exiles understood exactly what it was about. But you and I might need to do a little unpacking to get the message.
First, notice these horses are hitched to chariots, which means they are outfitted for battle. They ride out from between two bronze mountains (representing the presence of God) and go out from their station before the Lord of all the earth (v. 5). The black horse (perhaps representing death) and the white horse (perhaps representing God’s victory) ride to the north—the general direction of Babylon and Assyria, while the other two head south, in the general direction of Egypt. The chariots are headed to war against these enemies of Israel.
But there is something interesting going on in vs. 8. God, speaking to Zechariah, says the war horses headed north …have given rest to My Spirit in the north country…The idea is these nations angered God by their treatment of His people Israel and now God is satisfied because He has sovereignly defeated His enemies. The exiles Zechariah saw this happen when Babylon, the nation who once thought they were running the show, were defeated by the Persians. The Babylonians hadn’t been defeated by military might: God defeated them. Zechariah reminds them God is running the show because He defeats all of His enemies.
Does God defeat all of His enemies? Oh yes. There is no enemy that can stand against our Sovereign God. In this present world, God is defeating all of His enemies. Satan would like you to believe He is running this show, but over and over God defeats the devil’s plans by bringing good even out of the worst circumstances. The Cross of Christ is the best example of God’s sovereign victory over the devil. Death seems to run the show in this world, snuffing out the lives of the young, the innocent, the helpless. But God defeated death at the resurrection of Christ, opening the door for all who believe to be resurrected too. Every time throughout history when it seems goodness will die and evil will triumph, God comes through and sovereignly brings victory. The Bible reminds us that there will come a day when God’s victory will be final and complete, and all of His enemies will be destroyed forever. It may look dark and grim, we may sometimes be alarmed or confused, but always remember: God is running this show: He is undefeated and will always remain undefeated. John Jay Chapman once offered this advice to all of those who belong to the God Who runs this show: