Zechariah 9:16, “The LORD their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.” (NIV)
Humanity has a tendency to make self-gratification a foundational block of developing, and sustaining, happiness. If we can just have nice possessions, high-paying jobs, or relational popularity then we can have the life that will yield unending pleasure. This is the logic that is often employed in our world. But frankly this is a flawed logic. Physical well-being independent of any other factors does not bring about a balanced life, or even a blessed life. The most critical aspect to achieving personal prosperity, a spiritual treasure in nature by the way, is a relationship with God. If we neglect our soul, our spirit, then we are missing out on the way to find true purpose and meaning.
Zechariah 9:16-17 provides some insight into the appropriate view of prosperity. In this passage, God rescues His followers from pagan kingdoms, and as a result of His involvement His believers come to enjoy health and peace. It can be easy to read this text and see a materialism benefit to faith in God. But note the nature of the physical terminology, and how it actually points us toward a spiritual application. For example, in Zechariah 9:16 the Lord likens Himself to a shepherd saving his flock. What are some of the key aspects to a shepherd’s labor? One, a shepherd is sacrificial, in that a shepherd often has to fend off predators who would seek to harm the flock. This puts the shepherd’s life directly in harm’s way. Two, a shepherd is a guide, a leader. Sheep are prone to wander, and quick to drift, so a shepherd must keep a watchful eye over the sheep and keep them close together.
With that in mind, I read Zechariah and perceive a redefining of prosperity. I see a people, a community, thriving morally and spiritually. I see a fellowship modeling lives of integrity and noble service. I see a group placing the concerns of others before itself. Mankind inherently tends to think of blessing in terms of materialism, but blessings are actually spiritually generated. In other words, blessings begin with a personal relationship, a fellowship, with God, which works its way out to the world. In short, under God’s canopy there is tremendous shade, abundant love, and eternal prosperity.
Kevin Orr (9/13/2018)