The Heart of the Message

“Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who makes the storm clouds.  He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone.  The idols speak deceit, 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.  My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the Lord Almighty will care for His flock, the house of Judah, and make them like a proud horse in battle.  From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.”

                                                                                                                                                                Zechariah 10:1-4

                In these four brief verses we encounter a wonderful call to biblical praying, a judgment upon all praying to idols, and then one of the most powerful of promises of the coming Messiah, His nature, and His ministry to the people of God.  The central message of these verses is the personal presence of the Lord in the lives that we are living.  He Himself will intervene and care for His people.  He will come to them as the fulfillment of a whole host of biblical prophesies.  What His people must do is turn to Him and seek a real communion with their Lord.

In Zechariah 7:5-6 the prophet confronts His people with this penetrating question.  “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for Me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?’”  Zechariah calls us to take a careful look at our motivations for our praying, fasting, and mourning.  Are we looking to get something from God or do we want to know the Lord Himself?  Think about it this way.  When we pray for revival are we praying that we will experience all of the events which surround a revival, including the increases in numbers within the Christian Church?  Do we want the phenomena or do we want to know the Lord?  Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 6:33 that we are to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  It is a matter of our priority.  God calls us to a type of repentance in which our priority is to know and love Him supremely.  Everything else, no matter how necessary, must be secondary to this great purpose of our lives.

It is this that is at the heart of Zechariah’s prophetic message in 10:1-4.  Our calling is to pray biblically, seeking help from God within the context of His covenant promise to us which is centred upon His person.  This is why He tells His people that He is going to come personally to be the Good Shepherd who will care for their needs.  For too long they, and we, have wandered around as sheep without a shepherd, being lost, and latching on to any new fad which promises to make sense of our sin ravaged lives.  We turn to lotteries, and fortune tellers, self help guides, and all kinds of other helps looking for a way out of our lostness.  It all leads us more deeply into hopelessness.  Even more dangerously at times it might seem to meet our needs, only to bring us more powerfully under the judgment of God.

There really is only one way out and that is through the personal knowledge of God.  He will come, Zechariah shouts, in order to redeem us.  We are called to seek Him with all of our hearts.  Is it your desire to know the Lord personally and deeply?