Friday, April 7, 2017

Zechariah, part 3, Rebukes, Reminders, and Restoration



Now the book jumps ahead two years and there are rebukes and reminders before Israel can be restored. In chapter 7 the Lord rebukes the people for fasting and mourning for themselves instead of for the Lord. He reminds them to administer justice, show mercy and compassion, not to oppress widows, the fatherless, foreigners or the poor and not to think evil of each other. He reminds them that they did not do these things and as a result they suffered condemnation.
Chapter 8 outlines the restoration and that God will save His people and bring them back to live in Jerusalem. God will take them from poverty to productivity, from cursing to blessing, from fear to strength and power, and from fasting to feasting.
Next we have oracles and your Bible may have the print set up to look like poetry. The first oracle looks forward to the Good Shepherd’s rejection and the people’s acceptance of the anti-Christ. Look at 9:9:
“Rejoice greatly O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Who is he talking about? Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey!
Chapter 10 sadly says in verse 2 that the “people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd”.  Too bad, Israel, that you will fail to see Christ as the Messiah.
The second oracle describes the penalty for the nations who oppose Israel as well as the repentance of Israel. This means that they will finally realize that they had rejected the Messiah; someday they will repent and accept Him. There are plenty of references to the Lord’s return in the end time prophecies here. Look at 14: 4:
“On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.”
This oracle looks forward to the Day of the Lord when the nations will finally be destroyed, the Israelites will be delivered and David’s line will be re-instated as the kingdom is established.
The message of Zechariah (his name means “whom the Lord remembers”) is that God remembers His covenant and will eventually fulfill all the promises. This is a message of hope for the returning exiles of that time and to us.
Now look at the section about the two shepherds: Zechariah 11:4 – 13:
4 This is what the LORD my God says: “Shepherd the flock marked for slaughter. 5 Their buyers slaughter them and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, ‘Praise the LORD, I am rich!’ Their own shepherds do not spare them. 6 For I will no longer have pity on the people of the land,” declares the LORD. “I will give everyone into the hands of their neighbors and their king. They will devastate the land, and I will not rescue anyone from their hands.”
 7 So I shepherded the flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock. Then I took two staffs and called one Favor and the other Union, and I shepherded the flock. 8 In one month I got rid of the three shepherds.
   The flock detested me, and I grew weary of them 9 and said, “I will not be your shepherd. Let the dying die, and the perishing perish. Let those who are left eat one another’s flesh.”
 10 Then I took my staff called Favor and broke it, revoking the covenant I had made with all the nations. 11 It was revoked on that day, and so the oppressed of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the LORD.
 12 I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.
 13 And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the LORD.
Thirty pieces of silver! Judas betrayed Jesus for just that amount and when he regretted what he had done he gave the money back and it was used to buy a potter’s field! Continuing on with verses 14 – 17:
14 Then I broke my second staff called Union, breaking the family bond between Judah and Israel.
 15 Then the LORD said to me, “Take again the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16 For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves.
 17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd,
   who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm and his right eye!
   May his arm be completely withered,
   his right eye totally blinded!”

Woe to the worthless shepherd. False teachers beware. Did you notice what happens to the right eye?