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Daily Devotional Zechariah 13:1–9

When a leader falls into sin, many follow. When well respected teachers depart from God’s truth, their followers are misled. The far-reaching consequences of false and sinful leaders is nothing new. In the Old Testament book of Zechariah. Israel’s leaders led God’s people into sin.

They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, “They are my people,” and they will say, “The LORD is our God.”


Two hundred years after Isaiah’s ministry, God called Zechariah to preach to the Jews who had returned to Judah from Babylonian exile. The returning exiles resumed their sacrificial worship and laid the foundation for a new Temple. But the project came to a halt when they faced opposition. For more than 15 years, no construction occurred.

So, God called His prophets Zechariah and Haggai to encourage the people to continue (Ezra 5:1). In this passage we see that while God is gracious and merciful, He is also a God of justice and discipline. He is a jealous God who will not sit idly by while His people worship other gods. Zechariah 13 describes a powerful cleansing that God would enact on Jerusalem. He would banish all idols and false prophets and cleanse the people from their “sin and impurity” (v. 1).

The poetry in verses 7–9 further explains what this restoration would require. The “shepherd” likely referred to Israel’s leaders who bore responsibility for the people’s idolatry. When the leaders became corrupt, so did the people. When the shepherd lost his way, the sheep would scatter, making them vulnerable to attack. God Himself “turns [His] hand against” them, disciplining the young flock to purify them.

During this disciplinary process, two-thirds of the flock would be lost. Only one-third would remain and be refined. This may seem discouraging, but it shows that God’s promise to His people would continue when they called (qara) on Him in repentance.

>> Today’s devotional reveals the serious consequences of straying from obedience to God and His Word. Pray for your Christian leaders that they will remain faithful. And always check every teaching against Scripture.

Pray with Us

“You know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1). Along with the extra measure of responsibility You give teachers of the Word, we ask You to give them an extra measure of devotion to You.

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