Zechariah Chapter Ten

 

Read Zechariah 10:1-12 – God and His People

 

v.1Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.”

 

            This chapter of the book of Zechariah deals primarily with the relationship between God and his people.  This verse reminds us once again that all blessings come from God.  Most are providential and provided to all mankind but many others are reserved for his people, else why should we pray?  We need to remember always that these things come from God and God only as Jeremiah wrote:

 

Jeremiah 14:22Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.”

 

And the Holy Spirit confirmed through Paul:

 

Philippians 4:19But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

 

v.2 “For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.”

 

            Those who worshiped and prayed to idols, those who listened to the words of their seers did so in vain because they had no power, they could provide nothing:

 

Habakkuk 2:18What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?”

 

They were scattered and destroyed as a flock of sheep who did not have a shepherd, an analogy also used by Ezekiel:

 

Ezekiel 34:5-6And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.  6My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.”

 

v.3Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.”

 

            Just as God will judge between those who are his and those who are not in the last day; just as the “SHEEP” will be separated from the “GOATS” as Jesus describes in Matthew 25:31-33, Israel has been sorted out as well.  The wrath of God was brought against the “SHEPHERDS” of Israel because they led his people into apostasy and idolatry.  He has now separated them, punished the goats and visited the “HOUSE OF JUDAH” and has “MADE THEM AS HIS GOODLY HORSE” in the battle against sin.  This sorting out was finished by the captivity of Babylon as Ezekiel writes:

 

Ezekiel 34:17And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats.”

 

And as Zacharias, the father of John the baptizer recognized and declared when he named his son:

 

Luke 1:68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,”

 

v.4Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together.”

 

            Out of him, out of whom will “COME FORTH THE CORNER” and who is the corner?  We begin to understand when we remember the prophecy of Jacob at his death:

 

Genesis 49:10The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.


            The corner that is to come forth is the corner stone of the new house of God, the church of the living God as testified by Jesus himself:

 

Matthew 21:42Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?”

 

This language was confirmed by Jesus again in the record of Mark (Mark 12:10), Luke (Luke 20:17) and Peter (Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:7).  This refers to Jesus; the one who was literally hung from nails, who became the “BATTLE BOW” of God, the one who would overcome the power of Satan, the effects of sin on mankind and who would remove the hand of the eternal oppressor.

 

v.5And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded.”

 

            The prophet continues in figurative language to describe the power of “THE CORNER” using physical examples that the people understood to communicate in words that they should be able to understand.  When we look at the words of Hebrew writer:

 

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful [living and active (asv)], and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

 

We see that like mighty men of battle that tread down their enemies in the streets of the cities, fighting and winning even against those with horses; the power of the warriors of righteous will overcome the enemies of God.

 

v.6And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.”

 

            Here the Holy Spirit through the prophet of God repeats that he will “STRENGTHEN THE HOUSE OF JUDAH” but he adds another dimension that tells us that this a prophecy of the kingdom that is yet to come.  The “HOUSE OF JOSEPH” is to be redeemed as well.  As we remember Ephraim, who represented the Northern Kingdom in much of the writing of Hosea, God destroyed because of their disobedience:

 

Hosea 13:3Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.”

 

            Now God promises to bring “EPHRAIM”, the people of the northern tribes of Israel back and “PLACE THEM”, “HAVE MERCY” on them, and they shall be as though “I HAD NOT CAST THEM OFF.”  Ezekiel also prophesies the restoration of all Israel:

 

Ezekiel 37:21And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:”

 

            This is another proof that this prophecy refers to the coming of Christ and his kingdom as Isaiah prophesied:

 

Isaiah 2:2And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.”

 

v.7And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD.”

 

            When they are restored the children of Ephraim will be delirious with joy, like somebody who has had too much wine.  But their joy will be because they have been restored to the family of God, their iniquities have been forgiven, they are now again in fellowship with God.  Its source is described by the Apostle Peter this way:

 

I Peter 1:7-9 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  8Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  9Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

 

v.8I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.”

 

            The NKJV and the ESV says that God will “WHISTLE FOR THEM”, he will call them and gather them in because he has redeemed them.  The redeemed “SHALL INCREASE” and continue to increase, even through the end of time as men are converted to Christ and added to his church.  Sometimes we become confused because we read that those who will answer God’s call will be few in number and at other times that they will be a great multitude.  But when we consider all of the billions of people who have lived during the history of mankind, then consider how many of those who have been faithful to God we can understand that comparatively they will be few.  On the other hand when we consider that all those who have been given the cleansing of the blood of Christ include all those who ever have been faithful to God in all the ages and all that will be faithful to God in the years yet to come; we can also see that they would make up a great number.

 

v.9And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again.”

 

            Even as far back as the giving of the Mosaic Law God had promised Israel:

 

And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,”  Deuteronomy 30:1

 

And Hosea, a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel had prophesied earlier:

 

And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” Hosea 2:23

 

v.10I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.”

 

            Zechariah here parallels the prophesy of Isaiah confirming that God will indeed gather his people from out of all of the kingdoms of the world.

 

Isaiah 11:11And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.”

 

v.11And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away.”

 

            Assyria and Egypt here are referenced as symbols of slavery and tribulation.  At the time of this writing Assyria had already been destroyed, Egypt would follow shortly thereafter as the empires of Greece and Rome came into existence.  Ephraim, or Israel, would indeed be relieved of their slavery to sin when the kingdom of Christ was established, just as we are today.

 

v.12And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.”

 

            God will indeed strengthen his children, his people.  As a result of turning to him in obedience and becoming his children we do walk in “HIS NAME”, not just in this world but as Micah prophesied; in the world to come:

 

Micah 4:5  For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.”

 

William L. Schwegler, Sunday Morning Adult, Sunset church of Christ, Shreveport, Louisiana; October 11, 2009