Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The discipline of grace

Zechariah 11:7  So, on behalf of the sheep merchants, I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter. I took two staffs; one I named Favor, the other I named Unity, and I tended the sheep.

This is a scripture that requires background information in order to see how it may point to God's grace in our lives. The Babylonian exile, which dated from 605 BC to 539 BC, took the people of several nations away from their homes, including Israel, Judea and Lebanon. After the people of Israel began to return to their homeland in 539 BC, the restoration of Israel and the rebuilding of the temple was delayed time after time.

The above scripture refers to instructions that the LORD gave to the prophet Zechariah. The symbolic shepherd used favor (grace) and unity to guide the flock, but eventually the staffs were broken, and the natural consequences of sin destroyed the flock. The flock doomed to slaughter represents mankind, yes, even mankind today. Although the average American does not closely relate to a shepherd analogy, it is still a useful image for us. We can understand the concept of caring for a group

We must remember that God disciplines with favor (grace) and unity. God does not use chaos and misery to discipline us, but He does allow the natural consequences of sin to play out in our lives. God uses grace to guide us through the consequences we endure because of sin, and it is good for us to remember that grace is a discipline that helps us to trust our shepherd, Jesus, more and more.