-The prophet receives the Word from the LORD to speak out against the beautiful land from Lebanon in the north to Assyria (the common location for ancient Bashan) to the Jordan River area. Fire and destruction await these places as their selfish glory and pride is ruined (Zechariah 11:1-3).
-Then the LORD has Zechariah act out His Word in sending him to “pasture the flock that is doomed to slaughter (Zechariah 11:4).” He is symbolizing poor leadership of the flock of God who buy their slaves, without seeming consequence, and calling themselves blessed because of their wealth and opulence. These shepherds have no pity on their prey and use them to their own advantage. Therefore, God says that He will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the land. He will cause men to fall in civil disputes and carnage within the kingdom and from outside the kingdom. They will strike the land, and God will not deliver them from their power. This is exactly what happened during the Intertestamental Period when factions sprang up in Israel and Judah separating the people of God (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Herodians, and Zealots to name the prominent), and then foreign powers ravaged their land including Greece and Rome. Zechariah took two staffs “Favor” and “Union” as he pastured the flock in the Name of God. Then, three unknown shepherds were annihilated in one month, a short amount of time. Impatience was the reason given for this annihilation and their soul being weary of the shepherd God had set up. After that, Zechariah makes proclamation, “I will not pasture you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be annihilated, let it be annihilated; and let those who are left eat one another’s flesh.” Then he took his staff called “Favor” and cut it in pieces, “to break covenant which I (God) had made with all the peoples (Zechariah 11:5-10).” The people did recognize the prophetic Word from the LORD as the afflicted flock (Zechariah 11:11). Then, in a profoundly Messianic prophecy, he asked for his wages and they weighed out to him 30 shekels of silver. Then the LORD said to His prophet, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent (complete sarcasm here) price at which I was valued by them.” Zechariah obeyed and threw the 30 shekels to the potter in the House of the LORD, just like Judas Iscariot would do in the time of Jesus’ betrayal (Zechariah 11:12-13, Matthew 27:3-10). Then, the second staff called “Union” was cut into pieces to symbolize the division between Judah and Israel. The LORD told His prophet to again take for himself the equipment of a foolish shepherd. “For behold,” says God, “I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing, but will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs. Woe to the worthless shepherd who leaves the flock! A sword will be on his arm and on his right eye! His arm will be totally withered and his right eye will be blind (Zechariah 11:14-17).”
-*Application* It is a great tragedy when God’s leaders fail to care for their ordained congregation adequately. God holds those in authority to a higher level of accountability and judgment as we can see in the Scriptures (James 3:1). If God puts you in charge of something, remember your important responsibility and do things in the light and power of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Don’t let pride and your own glory become an issue. Hear and obey the Voice of the LORD. This is what true success is all about in the Kingdom of God.
Verse to Memorize: Zechariah 11:13