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The Scriptorium

The Prophet's Calling

We need all of it. Zechariah 7-10

Return from Exile: Zechariah 7-10 (7)

Pray Psalm 67.1-3.

God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us,
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.

Sing Psalm 67.1, 2.
(Solid Rock: My Hope Is Build on Nothing Less)
O bless us, Savior, by Your grace, and shine upon us with Your face,
that we Your way may loud proclaim and tell to all the earth Your fame!
Refrain v. 3 (5)
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord, rejoicing in Your holy Word!
Rejoicing in Your holy Word!

Review Zechariah 7-10; meditate on Zechariah 10.1-9.

1. What happens when God comes to “visit” His flock?

2. How do His people respond to that visitation?


Zechariah 7-10 provide a compact overview of the work of a prophet, so let’s have a quick look.

One of the most important things prophets did was to indict the people concerning their sins (7.1-7), to convict them of sin and lead them to repentance. Prophets exposed the hypocrisy and shallowness of the faith of God’s people, and they showed specific ways the people failed in their obedience. 

They also reminded the people of how their disobedience had provoked the anger of God, so that they came under His judgment (7.8-14). These reminders are often accompanied with warnings from God, both for Israel and all who disobey Him, about further judgment to come if they do not repent (9.1-8; 10.1-3).

The main work of a prophet, however, was to give hope to God’s people. He would not forsake them (8.1-3). He had blessed them in the past and would do so again (8.4-8, 11-15, 20-22; 10. 6-12). This hope is very often connected to a day of visitation (10.1-8), when God comes to dwell among His people (8.3), destroy their enemies (9.1-8), and restore their greatness. And this day of visitation arrives with the coming of God’s appointed King (9.9-17) and His Kingdom.

Finally, in view of all this, the prophet’s work included urging the people to get busy in obedience, doing whatever was at hand, no matter how small it seemed, faithfully, diligently, and with an eye to the promised blessings of the Lord (7.8-10; 8.9-17).

God was angry at those “shepherds” who taught the people otherwise (10.3). We must all hear these words from the Lord, confessing and repenting of our sins, renewing hope and encouraging one another, looking to Jesus and seeking His Kingdom, and taking each day’s “small things” as God’s plan for our lives to obey and glorify Him.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
It is true that every believer is called to work in their own Personal Mission Field. We must be faithful in all the work that God has called us to do for His Kingdom and glory.

But for our purposes today, we will discuss the role of the professional shepherd. The one upon whom God’s consternation is falling in this passage. We read that the people “wend their way like sheep; they are in trouble
because there is no shepherd” (Zech. 10.2).

And how does God feel about these faux shepherds…these impostor impastors?
“My anger is kindled against the shepherds…” (Zech. 10.3).
“My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray;
they have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from mountain to hill;
they have forgotten their resting place. All who found them have devoured them…” (Jer. 50.6, 7).
“His watchmen are blind…they are greedy dogs which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory” (Is. 56.10, 11). Perhaps turf-protectors?
“Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat…and clothe yourselves…but you do not feed the flock.
The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains…and no one was seeking or searching for them” (Ez. 34.2-6). Perhaps not even protecting their own turf?

When they do not preach the whole Word of God—the Law and the Prophets—and they do not teach the cost of the Gospel, which is much more than just a ticket into heaven, they are not pleasing to the Lord. When they do not follow God’s Law or live lives pleasing to God, they are not pleasing to the Lord. The impastors are not guiding their flocks in the necessity to follow God’s every command. They are guilty of not leading their flocks to the living water of Jesus Christ; and they are by omission leaving their parishioners as prey for being consumed by the temper and tempter of the times. They are allowing their dear sheep to become captive to the enemy and are not training them to live victorious lives of obedience and service on their own; sheep able to find water and food and shelter in God’s Word.

Contrast these shepherds with Jesus, Who said: “I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep…I AM the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (Jn. 10.11, 14).

Or Paul’s words to the young pastor Timothy: “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…” (1 Tim. 6.11, 12). “Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity…give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you…” (1 Tim. 4.12-14).

The role of professional shepherd is a daunting one and should not be taken on lightly. “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (Jms. 3.1).

Pray for your pastors, shepherds, and teachers. They are given to us to lead us to the living water of Jesus Christ. They provide opportunities for us to worship God in spirit and truth (Jn. 4.23). And they do bear an extra burden before God for our sakes.

And pastors, wake up. Plant yourself firmly in God’s Word. Give yourself to prayer. Get busy. Live in purity for Jesus’ sake and for the sake of the sheep who are depending upon you for guidance.

Be like Ezra, who “had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the L
ORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ez. 7.10). It is an awesome calling.

For reflection
1. What are the elements of the ministry of the prophets? Why do you need all those elements in your life? Explain.

2. Why does God hold the shepherds of His flock especially responsible for the state of the flock?

3. How can you be renewed in your hope every day? Why should you?

God here justly summons the shepherds first before his tribunal, who had been the cause of making others to go astray: as when a blind man leads the blind into a ditch, so ungodly pastors become the cause of ruin to others. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Zechariah 10.3

Pray Psalm 67.4-6.
Review the work of a prophet, outlined in this installment. Wait on the Lord in prayer, asking Him to speak to you according to all these categories. Respond accordingly, then commit your daily work to the Lord for His glory. 

Sing Psalm 67.4-6.
(Solid Rock: My Hope Is Build on Nothing Less)
Let all the nations gladly sing and joyous praise before You bring.
You judge them by Your holy worth and guide the nations of the earth.
Refrain v. 3 (5)
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord, rejoicing in Your holy Word!
Rejoicing in Your holy Word!

The earth in full its bounty yields—the blessed harvest of the fields.
We gather blessings from Your Word that all the earth may fear You, Lord.
Refrain v. 3 (5)

T. M. and Susie Moore 

Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by 
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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