Woe to the Worthless Shepherd

Zechariah 11:11–17 (NKJV)

11 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. 12 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.

13 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. 14 Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

15 And the Lord said to me, “Next, take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd. 16 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.

Continuing the analogy of the shepherd and the sheep, the Lord allows Zechariah to quit his job as the good shepherd of Israel.  He asked for his wages and resigned.  The wage given to him was thirty pieces of silver.  This was quoted in the New Testament to signify the price paid for Judah to betray Jesus.  The connection here that would make that significant and valid is that when the people rejected the good shepherd, they were then given foolish shepherds in return.  Jesus was the good shepherd, and when He was rejected, the people of God served under foolish shepherds, and they suffered.  When Zechariah took up the mantle of the foolish shepherd, Israel suffered violently.

17 “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.”

Here, the Lord denounces the rule of the foolish shepherd, who ate the flesh of the sheep and tore them to pieces.  He declated judgment against them and promised that the sword would come to their house, destroying the right eye and arm, thus making them impotent and blind.  God is looking for good shepherds to lead His people.  Whether a pastor, a mentor, or an accountability partner, a teacher or leader in the church should be responsible, caring, and protective when he or she serves in the role of shepherd.  Watch over the flock, protecting it from predators.  Feed the flock, nurturing them in spirit, mind, and body.  This is the proper role of a shepherd, and must be performed, or woe to the worthless shepherd!

Featured Picture courtesy of Jan Brueghel

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