The Daily Fountain Daily Devotional of the Church Of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) 3 September 2020 – The Shepherd And The Sheep
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Topic: The Shepherd And The Sheep
Read: Zechariah 11:1-17 (NKJV)
- Open your doors, O Lebanon, That fire may devour your cedars.
- 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.
- [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.
- Thus says the LORD my God, “Feed the flock for slaughter,
- “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.
- “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.”
- 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.
- I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
- And the LORD said to me, “Next, take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd.
- “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.
- “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.”
From today’s text, God told Zechariah to act out the roles of two different kinds of shepherds; the first demonstrated how God would reject his sheep because they rejected Him (vs. 4-14). The second revealed how God would give His sheep over to an evil shepherd (vs. 15-17). The two shepherd staffs – ‘Beauty’ (Grace) and ‘Bond’ (Union) that Zechariah broke signified that God’s gracious covenant with His people was broken, and that brotherhood between Judah and Israel was also broken. The third aspect showed that the time would come when the true shepherd would be rejected by the sheep who would rather accept a worthless shepherd.
Shepherds are not messengers of themselves but emissaries of God. God authorised them to pour forth the word; they are the proclaimers, publishers and speakers of God and His secrets. Hence, “thus says the Lord” is their defining introduction (Jer. 2:2; Ezekiel 2:4, Amos 1:3).
They are charged with a burden, a word from the Lord that they had no choice but to deliver. While true shepherds are called, instructed and sent by God (Ezekiel 33: 1, Ezekiel 7:7, Ezekiel 7:22; Isaiah 44:28), whoever does not receive his charge at the Lord’s mouth is a spy or hireling. True shepherds do not have any message of their own. Thus, the message of God in their mouth is not tampered with, added to, or subtracted from. Therefore, sheep are duty bound to submit to and obey them (shepherds) as they have been instructed from the Lord.
Dear Lord, make your shepherds true emissaries of your message and help the flock under them to yield themselves to divine injunctions. Amen.