1 Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone. 2 The idols speak deceitfully, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd. 3 “My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the Lord Almighty will care for his flock, the people of Judah, and make them like a proud horse in battle. 4 From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler. ~ Zechariah 10:1-4
Today, we transition into Zechariah 10. The theme of this chapter is the redemption of Israel. This is the theme the Apostle Paul addresses in Romans 11. There, God addresses the fulfillment of His promises to Israel, and He has not set them aside. In fact, in Romans 11:26 we read, "So all Israel shall be saved. As it is written, there shall come out of Zion the Deliverer who shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." Then, in Romans 11:29 we read, " for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable." All this is to say, God will fulfill His promises to Israel in the Millennium, and God will redeem the nation of Israel.
In v.1 of today's text we read, "Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone."
Here, the Lord redirects the people of Israel to Himself for He is the source of all blessing. The latter rain has always come in Israel around March into April, sometimes into the first part of May before the hot summer months. It was the second outpouring that the Jews looked forward to every year. There was the early rain and there was the latter rain. And the latter rain is what ripened the grain for the harvest. The Lord says, "Ask the Lord." We have not because we ask not, and experiencing the Lord's blessing begins with our desire for it.
The desired latter rain will come to Israel after the Tribulation, during the millennial kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, according to Isaiah 11, the animal kingdom during the Millennium, will be tamed. We are told the wolf and the lamb will lie down together. In Isaiah 35 we learn the wilderness will blossom like a rose. There will be streams in the desert and grass abundantly everywhere. Health and longevity is promised in Isaiah 65. He who dies at 100 will be considered a mere youth.
In v.2 of today's text we read, "The idols speak deceitfully, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd."
Before Israel went into captivity, they gave their hearts to various gods and goddesses of the pagan nations. And they looked to these gods and goddesses to give them the prosperity that God promised them all along. The problem was, their definition of prosperity and God's definition of prosperity were not the same. Their problem was with their idols who promised falsely.
An idol is something within creation that we inflate to function as God. All sorts of things are potential idols: people, places and things. Idolatry may very well come in the form of an over-attachment to something that is, in itself, perfectly good. An idol is that which we allow to take the place of God in our lives.
In the Bible there is no more serious charge than that of idolatry. Idolatry called for the strictest punishment, and was regarded as the root cause of disbelief in God. Idolatry is the ultimate expression of unfaithfulness to God and for that reason it has to be dealt with severely. This is why in 1 Corinthians 10:14, the Apostle Paul wrote, "Flee idolatry."
You see, idolatry isn’t just one of many sins, rather it’s the one great sin that all others come from. And, if we just deal with the symptoms, eventually we will discover that underneath it all is a false god. And, until that false god is dethroned, and the Lord God takes His rightful place, we will not have victory.
The cure for idolatry is an encounter with the true and living God. We are called to turn from our false gods and to worship Him. This was the case for Israel, and this is why He addresses them as He does here in today's text.
In v.3 of today's text we read, "My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the Lord Almighty will care for his flock, the people of Judah, and make them like a proud horse in battle."
When we get caught up in idolatry, it angers God. We tend to think anger is sin but it is not. The first time we come across anger in the Bible is in Genesis 4, where God showed His approval of Abel’s sacrifice and His disapproval of Cain’s. And, Cain’s reaction to this was anger.
God then said to Cain, "Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." The sin God is referring to is not the anger, but the anger certainly did precede it. Sin did indeed follow Cain’s anger when he murdered his own brother.
God demands our exclusive worship, because He desires for us faithfulness. In Deuteronomy 6:14-15, Israel is warned to not pursue other gods, “for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God, lest the anger of your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.” It is not that God is greedy for our worship, He needs not our worship. But, we need to worship God because that which we worship will define us.
In v.4 of today's text we read, "From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler."
Judah’s leadership had led God’s people astray, and God was promising them that He would give them leadership they could trust and rely upon. In this one verse are three pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was of the tribe of Judah. He is the cornerstone, the only foundation that is secure enough to build our lives upon.
The Lord Jesus is also the tent peg which was attached to one of the tent’s poles to hang valuables on. The picture here is the Lord Jesus is the peg or nail where important things are to be hung.
The third picture given here is the battle bow, speaking of a weapon, an instrument of war. In Revelation 19:19 we read, "And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army." Every ruler will be brought underneath the rule of the Lord Jesus when He returns. Everything will be and everyone will be subject to Him, the battle bow.
Finally, in Washington DC stands the Washington Monument. Engraved on its metal cap are two Latin words Laus Deo which are positioned on the highest monument, over the most powerful city, of the most powerful nation on earth. Laus Deo means "Praise Be to God." Sadly, our nation’s leaders have moved far away from the godly example that we received from some of our forefathers. They are like Judah’s leadership, they have led the people away from God. We should pray daily for our leaders, that they would turn to God and follow Him. But ultimately, we look forward with eager anticipation to the day when Jesus Christ, our perfect King, will sit upon His throne. It will be amazing to have Him rule over us. His government will be faithful and true and we will completely trust and rely upon Him.