Chapter 10:1-3 (ESV) - Ask rain from the Lord
in the season of the spring rain,
from the Lord who makes the storm clouds,
and he will give them showers of rain,
to everyone the vegetation in the field.
For the household gods utter nonsense,
and the diviners see lies;
they tell false dreams
and give empty consolation.
Therefore the people wander like sheep;
they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd.
“My anger is hot against the shepherds,
and I will punish the leaders;
for the Lord of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah,
and will make them like his majestic steed in battle.
Question to consider: Why was the Lord angry with the shepherds?
From yesterday’s passage, we saw that the Lord would save His people on a special day in which He would be lifted up and pour out His life-giving blood like that which was poured out from the bowl onto the corners of the altar. This act would renew His flock like grain and new wine.
Because the Lord loved His flock enough to pour out His own blood for them, His anger burned hotly against those who were supposed to lead and shepherd them. Instead of rightly teaching the Law and the grace and mercy of God, these leaders and shepherds turned to false prophets, diviners, and idols. These false prophets and diviners pretended to proclaim the word of God, but they instead affirmed the leaders in their sin and spoke peace when there was no peace. God said of them in Jeremiah 14:14, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.”
Zechariah pleads with his readers to seek God instead of their empty teraphim or false teachers, for only God can give life. God is the one who brings the spring rains which ensure a fruitful harvest, and God is the only one who can save us from our sin. Because of these false shepherds, the people wandered away from God like lost sheep and paid the price for it in their affliction.
So the Lord would punish the shepherds and gather the sheep up from the house of Judah and care for them Himself. Jesus did just that when He came. He said in John 10:11-12, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.”
Today, we’ve allowed false shepherds to creep back into the church. It is vitally important to find a church with a shepherd who rightly handles God’s word and preaches Law and Gospel. Let us take this plea from Zechariah today seriously and flee from the false shepherds and leaders of our time.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for giving us Your unchanging word so that we may know You. Help us to worship You as You desire and not try to forge our own way. We ask for faithful shepherds and leaders for our churches today to turn our hearts back to You and be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Amen.