Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Nov 29 2019 - Zechariah 10 – God's care for Judah

Zechariah chapters 10 and 11 belong together and form one extended discourse.

Chapter 10 begins by asserting that it is the Lord, not some other local god such as Baal, who sends the rains that make the land fertile. Those who look to idols and who listen to idol worshipers are like sheep without a shepherd. They wander aimlessly, without direction and without help.

The Lord is angry with those leaders who have led his people away from him. I am sure that you have heard the saying, "If you want a job done properly, do it yourself." Maybe it's one you have used many times, or maybe it is one that has been thrown as an accusation against you. This, in effect is what the Lord says. He is going to give these useless shepherds the sack and is going to take over the task himself to ensure that it is done properly: "the Lord Almighty will care for his flock, the people of Judah" (v. 3).

There had been good leadership of God's people while the temple was being rebuilt, but it had not always been so. Previous leaders, kings, false prophets and priests had led the people into idolatry that had resulted in the exile. Zechariah looks beyond the days of Zerubbabel and Joshua to times when the people might again be led away into idolatry. In the face of such threats he brings God's word of promise that he will shepherd his flock himself. He will strengthen them so that they have the power to stand against all those who threaten them. He will provide them with leaders raised up from the people of Judah: the "cornerstone" – the foundation and reference point for the life of his people; the "tent peg" – that which gives stability to the whole structure and keeps it secure against the winds that might blow it away; the "battle-bow" – that which defends God's people from attack and sends their enemies fleeing away (v. 4).

The Lord promises:

I will strengthen Judah and save the tribes of Joseph.
I will restore them because I have compassion on them. (v. 6)

He will gather his scattered people who have been like sheep without a shepherd and bring them back to himself that they might "live securely" under his protection.

Again we see that this prophecy finds its ultimate fulfilment in the Lord Jesus Christ. Zechariah 9 promised that Zion's King, or Messiah, will come bringing salvation to his people (9:9-10). Jesus is the Messiah; he is the Lord come to shepherd his people. He had compassion on the crowds because he saw that they were like sheep without a shepherd. During his earthly ministry he told his disciples to go "to the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:6), but after his resurrection he told them to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. With Jesus' coming, a faithful and powerful leader has been raised up from Judah through whom salvation and restoration is not restricted to one small corner of the world but embraces the whole world – and, indeed, the whole cosmos.

And we too have been enrolled in the Messiah's great task of bringing the world back to God. We need to ensure that leaders among the people of God in our day reflect the heart and conduct of the Lord Jesus (see 1 Peter 5:1-4): showing compassion for the people of God rather than exploiting them; gathering people into the fellowship of God's people rather than scattering them. The Lord wants the lavish and joyful banquet of his kingdom to be full to bursting (see Luke 14:23 and compare Zechariah 10:10).

Father God, once again we give you thanks for our Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for us and who, by his risen power, guides us and protects us in the fellowship of his people. Help us by your Spirit to be like him – to have compassion on those who are lost and in need and to lead them to the one who will be the Shepherd and Overseer of their souls.

Peter Misselbrook