Saturday after Jubilate
Scripture: Zechariah 11:1-17 (NKJV)
1 Open your doors, O Lebanon, that fire may devour your cedars.
2 Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, because the mighty trees are ruined. Wail, O oaks of Bashan, for the thick forest has come down.
3 There is the sound of wailing shepherds! For their glory is in ruins. There is the sound of roaring lions! For the pride of the Jordan is in ruins.
4 Thus says the Lord my God, “Feed the flock for slaughter, 5 whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt; those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich’; and their shepherds do not pity them. 6 For I will no longer pity the inhabitants of the land,” says the Lord. “But indeed I will give everyone into his neighbor’s hand and into the hand of his king. They shall attack the land, and I will not deliver them from their hand.”
7 So I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock. 8 I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 9 Then I said, “I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other’s flesh.” 10 And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. 12 Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter. 14 Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
15 And the Lord said to me, “Next, take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd. 16 For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.
17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd, who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded.”
“So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.”
The shepherds who were entrusted to feed God’s people had faithlessly neglected their duties. They sought their own wealth and glory, and they abused the people with false teachings and abandoned them. We see this evil come to its most poignant level in the chief priests and others who betrayed Christ unto death, negotiated for the price of thirty pieces of silver in the Gospel stories.
The Lord Himself has always been the Good Shepherd, as we are taught in Psalm 23. Throughout the Old Testament, God sought to gather His people as a holy flock, blessed by green pastures and still waters of His truth and righteousness. But people are stubborn and rebellious, and the shepherds He sent often neglected their duty. In Christ He came as the fulfillment of His promises to shepherd His people, but rather than be fed and cared for, they resisted Him and even sought to kill Him.
All these things happened as He foretold. Our Lord knew how all these things would happen. But thanks be to God that He still did, and continues to do, all those things that manifest His mercy and righteousness, working together for our benefit as we are called from all nations into His one holy flock in Christ Jesus, the true Good Shepherd.
We pray: Lord God, forgive our wickedness and rebellion, and make us truly humble and thankful for Your goodness and mercy. Make us to dwell in Your house forever; in Jesus Christ. Amen.