The Spirit of Grace and of Supplications
Zechariah 12:9-11
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.…

I. THE PROMISE OF THE TEXT. By the "house of David" is meant his descendants after the flesh, or the princes and rulers of the Jews; and by the "inhabitants of Jerusalem," the rest of the people. On these the Lord promises to pour out His Spirit for their conviction, conversion, and salvation.

1. The Holy Spirit is here promised as a "Spirit of grace." He is the author and giver of all grace, of all goodness. The Holy Spirit is the author of all preventing grace. We never really forsake sin, we never truly turn to God by any strength or goodness of our own. It is God who begins, as well as perfects, the good work in our hearts. The Holy Spirit is the author of all renewing and sanctifying grace. Every attempt to renew and sanctify our heart and conduct must, if we depend solely upon ourselves, be altogether in vain. The Spirit can renew us in righteousness and true holiness after the image of Him that created us, and make us new creatures in Christ Jesus unto good works. The Holy Spirit is the author of all quickening and reviving grace. Our souls too often cleave unto the dust; our hearts become cold and dead. Where are we to find a remedy for this distressing state of things? In the same Fountain of living waters. The Spirit must send us those refreshing showers which He sends on God's inheritance when it is weary. And the Holy Spirit is the author of all comforting and supporting grace. And do we not often need comfort and support in such a world as this?

2. The Holy Spirit is here promised as a "Spirit of supplications." We know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit helpeth our infirmities. This He does in Various ways.

(1) He shows us our need of supplications, by making us acquainted with our spiritual poverty and wants. Naturally, we are not at all conscious of our spiritual necessities. Though dead in trespasses and sins, we imagine we are living unto God. Though guilty of innumerable transgressions, we feel not our need of pardon. We think we are rich and have need of nothing. But the Spirit convinces us of our mistake. He leads us to feel our need of Divine mercy and grace, as well as our need of prayer and supplication for them.

(2) He shows us the encouragement we have to use supplications. He takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto us. He shows God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. He thus encourages us to approach the throne of grace, and to use supplications for the blessings we need.

(3) He further inclines us, or makes us willing to do this, by exciting in us an earnest desire to obtain such blessings. He removes that apathy and indifference which we naturally feel, and creates in us that hungering and thirsting after righteousness, that ardent longing after spiritual benefits, which nothing can satisfy short of an actual participation in them. Prayer, fervent and persevering, becomes our constant employment.

(4) And the Spirit assists us in this holy and delightful exercise. He removes that coldness, deadness, and formality we are so apt to feel. He gives us boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Jesus.

II. THE EFFECTS ATTENDING THE FULFILMENT OF THIS PROMISE. "Shall mourn," etc. The speaker here is evidently the Lord Jesus Christ. This application of the passage to Christ proves at once both His humanity and His Divinity. It proves His humanity, for He Was pierced. It proves His Divinity; for who can communicate the Spirit but God alone? It is here pretold by the Lord, that when He would pour out His Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of grace and supplications, sinners would be led to look upon Him whom they had pierced, and to mourn bitterly for their sins, and especially their great sin in rejecting Him. This prophecy was fulfilled in part on the day of Pentecost. It will also be more fully accomplished whenever the conversion of the Jews, as a nation, shall take place. But this prophecy is also accomplished whenever sinners, Jews or Gentiles, are now turned to the Lord. Notice the nature of the sorrow which they feel on such an occasion.

1. It is a godly sorrow. Produced in their hearts under the operations of the Spirit of God. What are its effects? It humbles them in the dust before God; it softens their hard and unfeeling heart. It is also a bitter sorrow, for it is said, "They shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son." We can scarcely conceive of any sorrow of an earthly nature more bitter than that of a father when mourning for his only son. The feelings of some are quicker and more susceptible than those of others. But whatever differences there may be, all who are really taught by the Spirit are made so to see and feel the evil and bitterness of sin, as to learn in all sincerity to hate and forsake it. It is a secret sorrow. "The land shall mourn, every family apart, and their wives apart." And is not this always characteristic of deep and real sorrow? Then let us ask ourselves, What know we of the effects attending the fulfilment of the promise in the text? How important it is that we should have the Spirit! And how earnestly and perseveringly should we pray for His gracious and saving influences!

(D. Rees.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

WEB: It will happen in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

The Promise to the Church
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