Book of Zechariah Chapter 10 Commentary by
Pastor Ron Beckham
The Restoration of Israel
Every good and perfect thing you have is from God. We are to pray to the Lord in faith, "and" as seen in Verse 1, "He will give...showers of rain, vegetation in the field to each man." The "rain" in this verse was the "latter rain," as seen in Deuteronomy 11:14; needed to swell the maturing grain. The people of that time and place viewed the latter rain as a manifestation of God's provision, giving these words special meaning. They would reap all they needed for themselves and have grass for the flocks as well. The King James Version adds, "the Lord shall make bright clouds," literally "the lightnings," which often accompanied the latter rain.
The "teraphim" of Verse 2, are idols, a trap for Israel through the centuries like an addiction. Look at the description of idols in Psalm 115:4-8—"Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; noses they have, but they do not smell; they have hands, but they do not handle; feet they have, but they do not walk; nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them." Idolatry will ruin us and is a danger for everyone...and here are some questions: What do you spend your money on? How do you spend your time? And what do you want in life? What you pursue, what you value in this world can become a form of idolatry—that destroys you.
Here's the complete Verse 2: "For the teraphim speak iniquity, and the diviners see lying visions and tell false dreams;
they comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep, they are afflicted, because there is no shepherd." Don't go to a "psychic" and don't be one, for they see lies, tell lies and any comfort they give is vanity. The people didn't have a shepherd because these "teraphim" and so-called "diviners" were leading them in the wrong direction. "Sheep" can't survive without God's help—and neither can you.
Verse 3—"My anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the male goats; for the Lord of hosts has visited His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like His majestic horse in battle." Many of the courses in seminaries everywhere, teach "Higher Biblical Criticism;" presenting the idea that Scripture is "myth," a word often used by professors and theologians. Such teachings produce damaged pastors who have been poisoned spiritually. Filled with unbelief, they graduate, leading churches into programs of human effort, until they and their people fall away, exhausted and unable to believe in the Lord who loves them. God calls these unbelieving leaders, "Shepherds" and "male goats," warning all of us that He is angry at such so-called "leaders" of God's flock. The phrase "male goats" applies also to secular leaders, who, like clergy, are supposed to lead us to the Lord, not away from Him.
God has in mind that His people will become "like His majestic horse in battle," which are the concluding words of Verse 3. The phrase is applied to the Southern Kingdom of "Judah," but extends His promise to the Northern Tribes of Israel, called "Joseph" in Verse 6. A wonderful promise is seen in Verse 4—"From them," that is, from the tribe of Judah, "will come the cornerstone, from them the tent peg, from them the bow of battle, from them every ruler, all of them together." The "Cornerstone" is Jesus Christ, as seen in Psalm 118:22 and quoted in Matthew 21:42 and Acts 4:11, presenting Him as the "Cornerstone" here in Zechariah. Acts 4:12 continues, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
The word for "tent peg" was indeed used for the peg at the corner of a tent, but also for a nail used to create a wooden building, and for a peg on a wall for hats, coats and utensils. God would also give His people success in battle and their leaders would come from their own nation. Verse 5 states, "They will be as mighty men, treading down the enemy in the mire of the streets in battle; and they will fight, for the Lord will be with them; and the riders on horses will be put to shame." Such promises were literally fulfilled in the time of the Maccabees, who threw off foreign rule under Judas Maccabeus in the 160's BC. He is considered one of the greatest warriors in Jewish history. The Maccabean rule lasted about a century, until two descendants, brothers named Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, quarreled about which one would rule Jerusalem, and both wrote letters to Rome, asking for help. The Romans responded and ultimately ended Jewish control of what came to be called "Palestine," until 1948.
Whatever strength you have is from the Lord. If you are going to heaven, it is because of what the Lord has done. And if you have anything at all, it is because the Lord loves you. The promises of Verses 6-7 are directly addressed to Judah and Israel, and God will never abandon that people, now or in eternity. He informs them, "I will strengthen the house of Judah,
and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them back, because I have had compassion on them; and they will be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them. Ephraim will be like a mighty man, and their heart will be glad as if from wine; indeed, their children will see it and be glad, their heart will rejoice in the Lord." The Jews, their religion, culture...the attempt was made by the Romans in 70 AD and by others in later centuries, to destroy everything about them—forever. But the attempts did not work because they are God's people. He brought them back and He "will bring them back" because He loves them. He is indeed "the Lord their God." Yes, life is dangerous, but He is with His people. Though many prefer religion to faith in the Lord, He will save those who trust in Him.
Do you love the vivid imagery used by the Lord?—I do. He is not only infinitely great in intellect, He is also the greatest Poet of all time and eternity. Listen to the words of Verse 8—"I will whistle for them to gather them together, for I have redeemed them; and they will be as numerous as they were before." If you will place your trust in the Lord, like a shepherd whistles for the sheep, it is He who calls you to His side. Wag your tail and look up at Him with loving eyes, for He is surely looking back at you with an infinite love that will never end.
At the time these verses were written, the bulk of the people now called by the name "Israel," were still scattered throughout the nations of the region. Verses 9-10 are both a promise to them of restoration and a suggestion that another scattering of them was to occur, which would happen in 70 AD: "When I scatter them among the peoples, they will remember Me in far countries, and they with their children will live and come back. I will bring them back from the land of Egypt and gather them from Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon until no room can be found for them." Those who don't like the Jews should read Scripture. God was not finished with His people and He will never be finished with them. He created them out of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and his wives, deliberately intending this nation as a message to the world—If you will be His, He will be yours.
The Lord, through Moses, promised Israel, centuries before these verses, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:5). Lest the people think something had changed after the death of Moses, God said to the man's successor, Joshua, "I will not leave you nor forake you" (Joshua 1:5). And there is more, for the message of Israel is that God loves those who have faith in the Lord and bear His Name. Israel often fell into unbelief, but God, in His time, brought them back, again-and-again. And His promise is still: "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). "The promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:39). And don't forget the words of the Jewish man, Paul, in Galatians 3:29—"If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." He will never forget you and me, whether we are Jew, Gentile or whatever. His salvation is based on faith and it is—forever.
God is perfectly willing to perform miracles in the deliverance of those who love Him. As it says in Verse 11, "And they will pass through the sea of distress and He will strike the waves in the sea, so that all the depths of the Nile will dry up; and the pride of Assyria will be brought down and the scepter of Egypt will depart." Just like He parted the Red Sea in bringing Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 14), He will deliver you also, at just the right time.
Do you feel weak? Have the troubles of this world brought you down? Then look at the promise of Verse 12—"'And I will strengthen them in the Lord, and in His name they will walk,' declares the Lord." Look to the Lord and trust in Him. He will strengthen you, and enable you to "walk" in His Name. The God of miracles can do—anything! You will "walk" in the Lord. Whether your legs function or not, you will walk in His Spirit, for He is—wonderful.
Father, I need You so. Please forgive me for the times I have strayed. I place my trust in the Lord, Your Son. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and give me Your peace. In Jesus Name. Amen.