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Day 39

Prisoners of Hope

by Mark Spurlock

Read Zechariah 9:9-12

“Mama, I am tired, tired of suffering. These years of captivity have shown me that I am not as resistant, nor as brave, intelligent or strong as I had believed. I have tried to maintain hope, as one keeps one’s head above water.”

Ingrid Betancourt penned these words somewhere in the jungles of Colombia—held hostage by a rebel militia for six years. Her health was failing, and so was her hope.

Then, on July 3, 2008, Ingrid and 14 other hostages were rescued in a daring military operation that succeeded without firing a single shot! Images of Ingrid’s joyous homecoming were plastered on TVs and newspapers around the world. Few things are more stirring than seeing captives set free and families reunited!

The “prisoners of hope” to whom Zechariah wrote were Israelites living in exile — captives of Babylon for 70 years. With each passing year they must have asked, “Where is God? When will He save us? Is there any hope for us?”

Maybe you’ve asked similar questions. Is there any hope for me? Imprisonment needn’t involve chains, guards or a foreign army. It could be a habit or attitude — a stubborn sin that’s taken you captive. Maybe it’s loneliness. Perhaps you’re not as resistant, or strong as you had believed. I know I’m not. So what do we do when we feel the weight of our bonds? Zechariah says, Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope…[Zechariah 9:12]

Who is our fortress? Today’s verses tell us that, too: See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey… [Zechariah 9:9] Hmm…remind you of anyone? [See Matthew 21:1–9].

Why not take a moment to return to your fortress right now? The familiar hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, begins like this…

O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!

If you know the chorus, take a moment to hum or sing the song as you fix your focus on the One who sets us free and renews our hope!

Question to Consider

Where in my life do I feel in bondage? How does Jesus set me free? Reaffirm Christ’s victory and power over whatever is causing you to feel like a prisoner of hope!


Lord, help me return to the fortress of love and hope found in You.