Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent – March 24, 2015

Today’s Reading: Zechariah 9:9-12

“As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
    I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.” – Zechariah 9:11

Zechariah prophesied the coming of a new and different kind of king at a time when God’s people didn’t even have a king.  Zedekiah’s reign didn’t end well as the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem.  When it was over “the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land.”  (II Kings 25:3) Eventually the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, the city plundered, the temple destroyed, and many of the people were taken into captivity in Babylon.

Now after 70 years in Babylonian captivity God had kept His promise. The exiles have returned, the wall is being rebuilt, and the temple is being restored. With the failure of previous kings why would they want another king?  After all, weren’t they now free?

No.  They had not yet been set free from the “waterless pit.”  The waterless pit of Zechariah’s prophecy was like the dry cistern in which Joseph found himself before his brothers sold him into slavery (Gen. 37:24) or into which Jeremiah the prophet was cast. (Jer. 38:6-9) It is a pit from which one cannot set himself free.

This pit is not a physical one but spiritual.  It is the pit of death in which not only the exiles found themselves but in which you and all mankind are trapped because of sin.  Yet this coming King makes a covenant with mankind in His own blood.  This King now sets you free from the waterless pit in the water filled bath of Holy Baptism.

Prayer: Fast bound in Satan’s chains I lay; death brooded darkly o’er me. Sin was my torment night and day; in sin my mother bore me. But daily deeper still I fell; my life became a living hell, so firmly sin possessed me. (From Dear Christians, One And All, Rejoice LSB 586:2)


This devotion was written by Rev. Michael Knox, pastor of Our Redeemer in Cedar Falls, IA, Christ Lutheran in Waterloo Iowa, and Peace Lutheran in Shell Rock, IA.

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