The Good Shepherd

About two years ago, I drove down to Jo’burg with a couple of friends to pick up another friend.  We had a relatively easy border crossing and arrived in Jo’burg round about 3 in the afternoon. However, we still had to make our way to our hosts. Fortunately we had a map, so it was supposed to be a straightforward trip. Or so we thought.

My two friends made the genuine, but disastrous error of giving me the map. In fact, it wasn’t even a proper map, but a Google Maps print out of the directions. All I had to do was to say which roads to take and when to turn. A pretty simple task you’d think?

3 hours later, we had driven around half of Jo’burg, and weren’t anywhere near our hosts. At one point, it seemed like we were heading out of Jo’burg, going toward Durban or some place.

My friends’ simple mistake had been to trust my guidance as far as directions were concerned. And they paid the price for it.

The Israelites, both the Northern and Southern Kingdom of Judah, also made a similar mistake. They abandoned the counsel of God and shut their ears to His wisdom. Their kings and priests and false prophets led them away from Yahweh, the one true God, and gave them over to the worship of idols and demons.

But the consequences of listening to the wrong voice, were much more terrible than getting lost for a few hours. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was completely destroyed and ceased to exist, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah was later attacked by the Babylonians and sent into a captivity that lasted 70 years.

By the time Zechariah began his prophesies, they had now returned to the land and were settling back and making some efforts to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the temple. But remember – they had not been released from exile in Babylon because they had somehow changed their hearts and turned to God? It was God who had relented from His anger and had had mercy on them. But they were still as sinful as ever.

And so we read Zechariah 10vs 1-3.

Ask rain from the LORD in the season of the spring rain, from the LORD who makes the storm clouds, and he will give them showers of rain, to everyone the vegetation in the field.

2 For the household gods utter nonsense, and the diviners see lies; they tell false dreams and give empty consolation. Therefore the people wander like sheep; they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd.

3 “My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the LORD of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like his majestic steed in battle. (Zec 10:1-3 ESV)

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