Summary: In the the prophet's day the remedy for the deceptions of false shepherds was to focus on the Messiah. Focusing on Christ Jesus is also the way not to be deceived today.
ZECHARIAH 10: 1-4
THE NEW ISRAEL'S SHEPHERD-KING
Chapter 10 of Zechariah's prophecy gives further blessings that will result for God's people because of their turning to their Messiah. The chapter is very closely connected to the victorious conclusion of chapter 9 and continues developing the Shepherd-flock concept. O what a happy and prosperous condition results from the restoration which the Messiah will bring about when He returns as Israel's Shepherd King.
Though these promises are specifically victories granted to the New Israel, they also constitute a consummation victory for all true people of God of all generations. For Messiah's triumph over His enemies is our triumph over our enemies.
In their day the remedy for the deceptions of false shepherds was to focus on the Messiah. Focusing on Christ Jesus is also the way not to be deceived today. As these promises encouraged the poor and afflicted people of Zechariah's day so let them encourage us today with the assurance that God has laid in Zion a Cornerstone upon which we may build for eternity.
I. THE LATTER BLESSING, 10:1.
II. THE FAITHFUL SHEPHERD-KING, 10:2-4.
[III. THE SHEPHERD-KING'S VICTORIOUS MEN, 10:5-7.
IV. THE SHEPHERD-KING'S REUNION, 10:8-12.]
I. THE LATTER BLESSINGS, 10:1
Verse 1 emphasizes that it is the LORD's provisions that bring fruitfulness. "Ask rain from the LORD at the time of the latter rain - The LORD who makes the storm clouds, and He will give them showers of rain, vegetation in the field to each man."
Verse one builds on the thought of the land being transformed in the preceding verse (9:17). God has withheld the latter rain from Palestine since the time of Jeremiah because of the nation's sin and thus the land flowing with milk and honey became desolate. [See Jer. 3:3; 5:25; 7:9;11; 12;14:4; 18:16; 26:17, Ezek. 6:14; 12:20; 33:28-29. Apparently the Mediterranean rain belt withdrew its outer edge back into the Mediterranean Sea.] The Lord again would send this latter rain that gives the land the ability to produce in answer to believing prayer (Jer. 10:13, 14:22).
This rain is certainly understood to be literal for it ripens crops, but the promise also embraces spiritual blessings (Joel 2:23 Hos.6:1-3). Rain in due season insured the productivity of the land and was promised to the nation as a reward of obedience to its covenant relationship with YHWH (Lev. 26:3-4; Deut. 11:13-15; 28:1-12).
Notice the word "ASK." God stands ready to respond to those who ask Him. The promises of God are turned into experience by the faith and prayers of His people. See Isaiah 44:3. The problem in the past had been that Israel had not acknowledged that their blessing came from God.
Latter rains are a term for spring showers that fall in Palestine in March and April which are indispensable to the maturing of crops. This rain fills the sheaves with grain. [See Baron, The Visions & Prophecies of Zechariah, footnote p 339.]
The promised "storm clouds and showers" of latter rains emphasizes the abundance of the divine response to their petitions, for our God is a bountiful giver. The torrential showers come to supply the need of every man (literally ‘to them') (Zech 12:10).
The promise of rain probably has a spiritual meaning also since rain is an emblem of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 32:15; 44:3; Ezek. 29:39; Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23-32) It is the outpouring of God's Spirit that leads man to repentance which enables the ploughing up of our inner fallow ground needed for the renewing and the enlarging of our Christian experiences. The early rain of the Spirit in a Christian's new walk, and the latter rains that bring maturity in our Christian life are a must, for it is only by receiving the great out-pouring of God's Spirit that we will become fruitful for the Lord.
The blessing of abundant physical and spiritual blessings is "to each man." God individualizes His gifts and blessings to each of us. This promise of empower for renewed growth is given to all who ask based on the Blood Covenant (9:11).
II. THE FAITHFUL SHEPHERD-KING, 2-4.
The ‘for' (ki) that begins verse 2 provides an additional reason for living in dependence on God. "For teraphim speak iniquity, and the diviners see lying visions, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain."
Notice the contrast between verse 2 and verse 1. Prayer asked of the Lord brings tangible results for those who do seek the Lord in faith and obedience, But not so for others. Even though they might say they represent God, their message is not from Him. Those that represent the Lord instruct people to repent of sin and to plea with the Lord that their circumstances such as drought, both physical and spiritual, might be changed. Those teraphim and diviners spoke dramatically about visions and dreams and said there is no reason to be concerned, everything is going to be fine. Therefore the people continue to wander about instead of being called to the straight and narrow path of God's mercy and grace.