Zechariah 10:2-12 | God Cares for His People
2The idols speak deceitfully,
diviners see visions that lie;
they tell dreams that are false,
they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep
oppressed for lack of a shepherd.
- The leaders of the people had led the people astray, they had deceived them, lied, given false information and empty words of comfort.
- What a danger it is that leaders, pastors and preachers can easily deceive and lead people astray, even unknowingly. How easy it is to speak comforting words and only what people want to hear, instead of what they need to hear!
- Preachers need to watch that we don’t just preach from sections of the Bible that are comforting, but also from those that are uncomfortable.
- The people were oppressed and wandering aimlessly. This makes us think of how Jesus saw the crowds; “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34)
3“My anger burns against the shepherds,
and I will punish the leaders;
for the Lord Almighty will care
for his flock, the people of Judah,
and make them like a proud horse in battle.
- God’s response to faulty shepherds who lead their people astray is one of burning anger.
- Jesus mirrors this sentiment when he says in Matthew 18:6 “”If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
- The task of being an elder or pastor within the church is one we should approach humbly, with fear and trembling.
- Unlike the faulty shepherds who led their people astray, God is the one who will truly care for his flock and desires to see them succeed and be honoured in His sight.
4From Judah will come the cornerstone,
from him the tent peg,
from him the battle bow,
from him every ruler.
- This is a clear indication and prophecy of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who was of the tribe of Judah. God decided to honour the person and tribe of Judah by having Christ come from that line.
- He is the cornerstone of the church, the tent peg which holds all things together, the battle bow against principalities and powers in the heavenly realms, and he will reign with the government on his shoulders.
5Together they will be like warriors in battle
trampling their enemy into the mud of the streets.
They will fight because the Lord is with them,
and they will put the enemy horsemen to shame.
- When God fights with and for his people they will be an unstoppable force, like an army tramping enemies underfoot, like a tank driving forward against any opposition.
- Sin and death have no power against the redeemed church of Christ
6“I will strengthen Judah
and save the tribes of Joseph.
I will restore them
because I have compassion on them.
They will be as though
I had not rejected them,
for I am the Lord their God
and I will answer them.
- Out of the depths of His compassion, God is going to restore his people to strength and blessing. He is effectively turning the clock back and undoing the effects of their sin and rebellion
7The Ephraimites will become like warriors,
and their hearts will be glad as with wine.
Their children will see it and be joyful;
their hearts will rejoice in the Lord.
- The result of God’s intervention to redeem his people will be their happiness – they will be glad, joyful and rejoice in the Lord. Their joy and gladness will overflow onto their children
- What joy we should also have in the gospel that our children would see the happiness in our lives because of Christ!
- Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
8I will signal for them
and gather them in.
Surely I will redeem them;
they will be as numerous as before.
9Though I scatter them among the peoples,
yet in distant lands they will remember me.
They and their children will survive,
and they will return.
- As at the start of the book, God will signal his people to return to Him.
- ‘Signal’ = whistle/hiss in Hebrew. This is like God the shepherd whistling to His sheep to return to Him
- The great promise of the prophetic literature (especially here and in Isaiah) is that God is going to re-gather his scattered people – both the Israelites in the immediate context and humanity in the larger context
- ‘they will remember me’- the relationship between God and his people that had been long lost will be restored, the people will remember their God again
10I will bring them back from Egypt
and gather them from Assyria.
I will bring them to Gilead and Lebanon,
and there will not be room enough for them.
- If this passage is speaking of the consummation of God’s earthly Kingdom when Christ returns and gathers his church to Jerusalem then one might expect that there will not be enough room when this happens, yet this is what this passage and others allude to, which is really a sign of blessing and prosperity, not a negative point.
- Isaiah 49:20 “The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, ‘This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.’”
11They will pass through the sea of trouble;
the surging sea will be subdued
and all the depths of the Nile will dry up.
Assyria’s pride will be brought down
and Egypt’s sceptre will pass away.
- ‘sea of trouble/affliction’ would most likely be the Red Sea here, which will be subdued
- The Nile will also dry up so that people can cross it, as God gathers them in
- God will care for his people and remove any obstacle that gets in the way
- Isaiah repeatedly talks about a highway being opened up for God’s people to return to Him at Jerusalem and speaks of different waters/seas/rivers being dried up so people can cross them safely
- Isaiah 11:15 “The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that anyone can cross over in sandals.”
12I will strengthen them in the Lord
and in his name they will live securely,”
declares the Lord.
- God’s people will become strong again and live securely under his care and protection in His kingdom
- ‘live securely’ = walk about. We will have freedom and security so that we can walk about in peace
God will show care and compassion towards his people who are oppressed at the hands of their leaders. He will honour his people and raise up a cornerstone, the Messiah for them, who will signal to them and gather them in from distant nations to live in peace and security.