Today’s readings.. (Job 35,36), (Zechariah 11), (Revelation 12,13)

Jesus is the good shepherd – and in this world of sin and death (Romans 5 v.12) how urgent it is to find and hear the voice of the good shepherd.  There have been many shepherds over the Centuries that have been good up to a point; for example, David, Solomon, Elijah and Hezekiah – and in recent Centuries, men of the calibre of Tyndale may well qualify. But they have been far outnumbered by worthless shepherds – and sadly is that not just about totally the situation today?
Our thoughts travelled along these lines as we read the 11th chapter of Zedekiah.  Verse 12 has that intriguing reference to those “who weighed out my wages thirty pieces of silver.”  Those who readily paid over the money to Judas Iscariot were extreme examples of worthless shepherds, totally blind to the “good shepherd” .
The one who received the 30 pieces of silver was the worthless one among the 12 Jesus was training to be shepherds to take his place after he left the earth. Do such shepherds exist today?
The final verse of Zechariah 11 says, “Woe to my worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock …”     Tragically worthless shepherds think they are serving God – the scribes and Pharisees are outstanding examples of this. They have existed in every generation; John, in his old age, wrote of a church leader called Diotrephes (see 3 John v.9,10) who was such a person and John adds, “whoever does evil has not seen God.”  Our minds must have spiritual vision to “see” God.
Doing evil starts in small ways, but whether small or not so small, there is a common factor says Jesus, “the world …. hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.” [John 7 v.7] Do we avoid reading God’s word because it pricks our conscience?  It is tragic that worthless shepherds think they are serving God, Diotrephes surely did, but those who constantly read and absorb God’s word, learn to be in awe of God, and so progressively develop an attitude that fits them to be seen by God and His Son as worthy shepherds,
In the process of this they learn what it is to endure:- this brings us to our concluding thought in today’s ch. 13 of Revelation. Verse 8 tells us of “the book of life” and those whose names are not written there. How tragic!  But then comes the challenge -“If anyone has an ear, let him hear … here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.” [v.10,11]  And as we try to endure we can add a parallel thought, ‘if anyone has an eye, let him read’ and, as a result, really follow in the footsteps of the good shepherd.

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