READ: Zechariah 11-12

RE-READ: Zechariah 11:4-11 from The Message, and really dig into the symbolism of the passage as you read:

God commanded me, “Shepherd the sheep that are soon to be slaughtered. The people who buy them will butcher them for quick and easy money. What’s worse, they’ll get away with it. The people who sell them will say, ‘Lucky me! God’s on my side; I’ve got it made!’ They have shepherds who couldn’t care less about them.”

God’s Decree: “I’m washing my hands of the people of this land. From now on they’re all on their own. It’s dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest, and the devil take the hindmost. Don’t look for help from me.” So I took over from the crass, money-grubbing owners, and shepherded the sheep marked for slaughter. I got myself two shepherd staffs. I named one Lovely and the other Harmony. Then I went to work shepherding the sheep. Within a month I got rid of the corrupt shepherds. I got tired of putting up with them—and they couldn’t stand me. And then I got tired of the sheep and said, “I’ve had it with you—no more shepherding from me. If you die, you die; if you’re attacked, you’re attacked. Whoever survives can eat what’s left.” Then I took the staff named Lovely and broke it across my knee, breaking the beautiful covenant I had made with all the peoples. In one stroke, both staff and covenant were broken. The money-hungry owners saw me do it and knew God was behind it.

THINK: When you consider the consequences God allows to come to Israel for their continual disobedience to him, what stands out to you? Why do you think God would allow such horrible things to happen to them? What does this have to do with you?

PRAY: Read that passage one more time, prayerfully. What about God does it highlight? What words or actions especially draw your attention when you consider your life in light of this passage?

LIVE: Consider the following extract from Jan Karon’s These High, Green Hills:

“There’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you Father,” said Nurse Kennedy, walking with him along the hall.

“Shoot.”

“Why is it God so often breaks our hearts?”

“Well, sometimes He does it to increase our faith. That’s the way he stretches us. But there’s another reason, I think, why our hearts get broken.”

She looked at him.

“Usually,” he said, “what breaks is what’s brittle.”

In what area has your heart become brittle toward God? Have you been trying to protect your heart from him? If so, why? Don’t put pressure on yourself trying to change this: There is probably some reason you have felt the need to protect yourself. But today, with God’s help, become aware of it, and explore with him what might happen if you trust him with that area of your heart.

– Adapted from Eugene Peterson in Solo

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