Today's devotion from Zechariah 10-11. Some scholars believe that Zechariah 11 presents some of the hardest imagery in the Old Testament to accurately interpret and apply. So, if you felt a little confused while reading it, you're in good company.
At its most basic, chapter 11 is a visual representation of the broken relationship between God and His people. Zechariah is commanded to take on the mantle of a shepherd who is a wiser and better shepherd than the fools that had guarded the sheep. Yet, he is completely under-appreciated. As such, he comes to the place where he ceremonially broke the first staff used to guide the sheep, favor.
In order to fully demonstrate the dissolution of the relationship, the shepherd asks for his wages. This is not to say that he is only interested in pay, but in being finished with the job. In other words, he's finished. Instead of just not paying him, the people demonstrate their contempt by giving him 30 pieces of silver.
Of course, you're familiar with the New Testament, and automatically see Judas and his betrayal of Jesus. That's good. However, the deeper meaning even of that payment is that this is the price of a slave in former days. It is a symbolic amount that allows us to see exactly how lowly the people look on this shepherd and how undervalued Jesus was to Judas. The point is that this is disrespectful.
Symbolically, what God is saying is that the people have seen His role as little more valuable than an underpaid laborer. God was likened to a slave to do the bidding of the people instead of honored as their Good Shepherd. So, the second staff was broken, unity.
While we may not fully understand the nuances of this visual lesson, what we do understand might strike a little too close to home. How many times do we under-appreciate God's role in our lives? How many times do we disrespect Him with token actions, passionless prayer, and thoughtless worship? Maybe today, in this very moment, we should take the chance to fully appreciate God and His guidance in our lives?