Lent - Week Four - Zechariah
“Be not like your fathers whom the former prophets warned: Thus says the Lord of hosts; turn from your evil ways and from your wicked deeds. But they would not listen or pay attention to me, says the Lord. Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, can they live forever? (Zec. 1: 4 - 5).
A common accusation against the prophets as with Jeremiah; “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people; You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.” (Jer. 23: 1-2).
Again, God is very angry with those whom he has chosen to lead his flock, and they looked after their own needs and forgot the sheep they were to shepherd and lead to pasture which is nourishment for them. The fodder to graze on is the word of God. They selfishly only pleased their own satisfaction.
“Ask of the Lord rain in the spring season! It is the Lord who makes the storm clouds, and sends men pouring rain: for everyone , grassy fields. The diviners have false visions: Deceitful dreams they tell, empty comfort they offer. This is why they wander like sheep, wretched they have no shepherd. My wrath is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders.” (Zec. 10: 1-3).
There is no doubt that anyone who has been given the grace of God to lead the flock, be it clergy or laity, is susceptible to scrutiny for whether they followed their vocation. We can not think that the ministry to lesser people belongs to someone else once we accept the grace from God to teach and nourish the flock of the Lord. The responsibility of accepting this ministry is paramount with the position of; “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.” (Jn. 15: 16 -17).
“Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come riding on an ass, the foal of an ass. He will banish the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; The warrior’s bow shall be banished, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations. His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.” (Zec. 9: 9-10).
From punishment to salvation, the promise of God to those who hold the belief of the mission of Jesus the Christ.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Lent 2022