Zechariah 11:7 And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.
8 Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.
9 Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.
10 And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.
11 And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.
The Lord is good all the time. Yesterday we had the privilege of restarting services in a care home in our area. It has been a while since we were there. We had a good turn out of residents. We also had one staff member in attendance. I could see that she was very interested in what I was saying. After the service she came to me and talked of how she appreciated the service, and said she could sit and listen to me all day long. I invited her to our church. Understand, it is not me that is important. Those who read these devotionals and are somewhat familiar with our services, know that we emphasize the Bible. It is the Word of God that drills down to the heart and soul of the hearers. Thanks to those who pray for us. We need God to bless our efforts. We want people like this staff person to be saved. We also want to be a blessing to the residents.
In our text we continue to follow Zechariah’s prophecy regarding Israel then and in the future. We see here that God is moving away from trees and to people. He refers to them as “flock”. The flock needs a shepherd. Jesus Christ is the “Good Shepherd”. He gave His life for the sheep. As we continue this study we see more clearly the time frame involved here. The poor of the flock is a reference to those who are the redeemed. It is not the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the lawyers and Scribes. It is not those who lack material things. It is the few who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and they did so because they were poor in spirit. They were humble and because they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, they were persecuted. We know that the disciples met in secret for a time out of fear for the false religious leaders. We know that after Pentecost, the apostles were different men. They were bold then and they were not afraid of being arrested and beaten and even killed.
In verse 7 two important words come into play: “Beauty” and “Bands”. The Greek word translated as “Beauty” means “agreeableness”. God is speaking here of a time when the division that God had brought about due to Solomon’s sin, would begin to come back together. It would come together because the Jews would begin to come into agreement with the God Who made them a people in the first place. The Greek word translated as “Bands” means “to be twisted like a rope”. As we mentioned, the two divided kingdoms would come together as one people again. In the future they would also be knit together in the love of God. That is a beautiful picture. Notice that the LORD fed this flock. In John 10 Jesus talked of the flock that He had at that time and that there were others that also needed to be brought into that flock. God wants all to be saved. Salvation is a gift of God. It is not something we earn or deserve. It is a gift of God given to those who turn to God in repentance and who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
In verse 8 God spoke of the three shepherds He cut off. This is a reference to false teachers within Israel. God hates false teachers. He allows them some time to see their wickedness and repent. However, after a time, He cuts them off. I was asked yesterday if I listen to David Jeremiah. I do not. I have no time for false teachers. They may be smooth talkers, but I am not interested in smooth talkers. I want the truth.
Notice here that these three shepherds would be cut off in one month. Their time was short. We see that God lothed them, but He also says their soul abhorred Him. It is important to note that the motivation behind false teachers is their hatred for the LORD. They might not come out and say that. The fact that they despise the truth and choose a corrupted message from a corrupted source is a sign of their hatred for the LORD. Those who love the LORD embrace Him. They cannot claim to love Him and then twist what He says.
In verse 9 the LORD is not obligated to feed and care for those who hate Him. Those who deliberately decide to teach lies are not protected by Him. God loves all people. He wants all to be saved. That love is expressed in making His name and His Word known to all. That love is also expressed in separating the sheep from the wolves. The wolves had their chance to turn to Him. They decided not to. It is not loving to continue to tolerate the wolves and thus hurt the sheep.
In verse 10 we see that the LORD took His staff, Beauty, and cut it asunder. We said earlier that Beauty means agreeableness. Jesus Christ blessed the people while He was on earth. He fed the 5,000. He healed the sick and gave sight to the blind, etc. However, many of those people who were being helped and being drawn together only did so when the conditions were right. When the trouble intensified, they turned away from the truth. What has happened to Israel since the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ? What happened in A.D.70? Jerusalem was attacked and the temple was destroyed. The Jews were scattered and throughout the succeeding centuries many Jews have suffered greatly. Prior to and during WWII, millions of Jews were rounded up and brutally murdered. What is the chant of too many people today? They want the Jews annihilated. They will never get their way, but many Jews are still suffering. Why? They continue to reject the true God.
The covenant that the LORD broke was not the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That covenant is an everlasting covenant. The nation of Israel can never be destroyed. The Catholic desire to replace Israel will never happen. Those who hold to “replacement theology” are wrong and they are in trouble with the LORD. Not a good place to be.
The covenant that the LORD broke was the covenant He made with Moses. Israel lost control of their land for a time due to their rebellion. Even today, Israel is the only nation that supposedly needs permission from the U.N. to exist as a nation and set its own policies.
Israel lost out big time when they chose to reject the Messiah and they cried out: “crucify Him, crucify Him” and “His blood be upon us and our children”. That was a foolish thing for them to do and it has cost them greatly. There will be a generation of Jews that will weep when they see the Messiah at the end of the Tribulation. That generation will fall before Him and acknowledge Him as their Messiah, their King, their Saviour.
In verse 11 we see that the poor of the flock that waited upon Him will know that the Word of the LORD is sure and true. Those who trust in the LORD have nothing to fear. God does not go back on His Word. Those who are born again have everlasting life. No born again Christian can lose their salvation. Those who want to believe that are fear-mongering. They think they need a human whip to try to keep people in line with their standard. God has not given us a whip. He saves people and He casts off the wicked. We are to love the people and to feed them the Word of God. We are to be willing to be stedfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
It is important to know the true God now. It is foolish to hold off and find out it is too late. We do not control when we will take our last breath. That is in God’s hands. We have this moment to hear Him and trust in Him. Once we trust in Him, we can be blessed in growing in Him. Israel has missed out for centuries. Many Gentiles have also missed out for centuries. Many “churches” have turned away from the truth. Many are nothing more than social clubs. They no longer have the Word of God. They have forsaken God-honouring music. They dress like the ungodly, and suggest that God is no longer holy. They try to redefine what holiness looks like. Don’t be deceived. God has not changed. No man will ever make God what He is not. He has declared Who He is in His Word. It is a blessing to know this holy God and to serve Him.