Friday, November 14, 2008

Zechariah 10

Following on from the previous chapter, Yahweh calls on the people to ask for rain. But his intervention can only happen if the people stop following idols and divinations. And this can only happen with a change of leadership. I wonder, in the context of 9:1-8, whether we should be viewing this leadership as foreign—as the nations ruling Jerusalem. There's nothing here that suggests to me a priestly or Davidic shepherd, apart from the fact they are called shepherds. (That's a big exception, though.) Either way, the need is for Yahweh to intervene. And in so doing, he will restore the nation not merely by re-establishing his rule but by regathering the lost northern tribe. This intervention is of the scale of the Exodus—unsurprising given how the people have been scattered among the nations.

The big theological development is the magnitude of God's intervention to save his people. But that intervention strengthens the people—from among them comes his ruler. They are his agent of victory.

And that is what Christ is. Because in the gospels even the disciples prove unable to follow God until the end, only Christ can be God's agent of victory. But, through him, God gathers not only the lost people of Israel but even those who were not Israel—the Israel of faith. Through the preaching of the gospel, people are drawn into his kingdom. The condemnation of false leaders establishes a space between earthly rulers and the Christian community. Only Christ will rule as God intends. Any earthly rule must only be figurative and incomplete.

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