Fellow under-shepherds, no matter how small your flock, or how little your charge or task, heed the warning of Christ of his distaste for goat-style leadership. Reflect on your knees of your ways before the Lord. Ask Him for grace, in Christ, to be progressively devoid of offence and aligned with His Shepherd heart.
Just getting ready to preach on Zechariah 10 tomorrow—I have to confess not one of the easier passages from which I have attempted to bring a message to God’s Flock!
After an initial instruction to turn from Baalism and occult guidance to seek promised, timely, blessing from Yahweh in spring rains (v1-2), a stupendous promise is given of the final redemption to come—the LORD’s sea-striking work, which makes a path for His sheep, makes the Red Sea Salvation pale into insignificance (v8-11).
It is the middle section of the chapter, v3-7, which deals with the issue of leadership:
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. From him shall come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler—all of them together (Zechariah 10:3-4).
Yahweh is clearly angry with a collective oversight failure—he promises to replace all levels of ecclesiastical leadership: founder cornerstones, stabilizer tent-pegs, charge-leader warriors, and rank-and-file supervisors, all face the axe swung in heated, scorching, wrath.
Three Warnings for Shepherds
In a rather truncated post, I just want us to notice a few things upon which overseers and leaders can reflect and, if required, adjust: this, I trust, will serve to benefit all the workforce currently engaged in building God’s everlasting Temple, which will soon be perfected above:
- When we fail as leaders, we grieve the Spirit, dishonor King Jesus and provoke our Heavenly Father: Zechariah wants us to know that the “anger of Yahweh burns” against misleading, selfish, goat-like leadership, for at least three reasons: first by our practice, doctrine, morals and values we lead sheep astray; second we give an excuse (and provide an occasion) to the sceptic, doubter, gainsayer, unbeliever, blasphemer or covenant-breaking child, to criticize the church, abandon the means of grace, to their potential eternal hurt; third, and most grievously, we cause the Name of Yahweh, our Merciful Covenant LORD, to be blasphemed. Now, brothers and sisters, surely, as the sheep for whom the Good Shepherd shed His own blood, we certainly do not want that! Ask the LORD to give you a portion of His own selfless, shepherd, heart.
- This rebuke of the leadership structures and officers of the post-exilic Church, in BC518, covers every post and person involved in godly supervision, both within and outside the House of God: professors, ministers, elders, deacons, CY leaders, TFI teachers, Bible Class instructors, Sabbath School officers, along with those in positions of governance in the workplace (such as employers, politicians, doctors, teachers, lecturers), and finally in the home (grandparents and parents), fall under the umbrella rubric of “taskmasters”—all are therefore pressed to seek selfless, faithful, Lamb-like, sheep-centered leadership grace.