Focus: Zech. 13:7-9 “Awake, sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is my associate,” says the LORD who rules over all. Strike the shepherd that the flock may be scattered; I will turn my hand against the insignificant ones. It will happen in all the land, says the LORD that two-thirds of the people in it will be cut off and die, but one-third will be left in it. Then I will bring the remaining third into the fire; I will refine them like silver is refined and will test them like gold is tested. They will call on my name and I will answer; I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”
In these prophetic words to Zechariah concerning God’s Shepherd, we can learn about what it means to be a faithful servant. Jesus Christ was the Shepherd alluded to in this prophecy. He was sinless, blameless and did everything right. There is nobody else who has ever been as faithful to the Lord as Jesus was during his ministry on earth. Yet we know of his suffering. Zechariah foretells that God would strike his faithful servant. Jesus’ faithfulness led him to suffer on the cross and die a criminal’s death on account of the sins of mankind.
Next, in this prophetic passage, we can see what happened to those who faithfully followed the Shepherd. God turned his hand against them, and they scattered. The disciples of Jesus Christ had their hero murdered right in front of their very eyes. Not only that, but they were forced to flee for fear of their lives since they were associated with Jesus. When Roman officials killed insurrectionists, they also took down any co-conspirators. The backside of God’s hand was against those who were most faithful to Christ. This indicates God’s removal of protection and blessing.
Additionally, the text says that two-thirds of the people in the Land will be cut off and die, and the remaining third will be refined and tested. God would weed out those who follow Him for their own selfish desires, and he would gather unto Himself those who come forth as pure silver and gold. When they are through with their testing and suffering, their lives will still remain loyal to Yahweh. These are the people that God will identify as His.
Faithfulness to God is a commitment to suffer. It is a commitment to be used by God for His purposes. There are many health, wealth and prosperity preachers out there who teach that sickness and suffering is the result of unconfessed sin. They teach that if we give our money to their ministry, then God will bless us and make us wealthy and heal us of our sickness. If you turn on TBN, you will see a lot of these guys on there (But to be clear, not all the ministry presented on TBN is false. A lot of it is spiritual hogwash though).
These ministries use the name of Jesus to sell religious relics that promise blessing and healing. That is a false gospel! The Gospel begins with Christ. Look at Jesus- God struck his Shepherd! Look at the most faithful-they ran in fear, many dying martyrs deaths! When you follow Christ, it is a commitment to suffer and to be used however God desires. Are you willing to be tested, and will you still say, “The Lord is my God?”