343: Zechariah 11:7

365 Prophecies: Prophecy 343

The Messiah will have a special heart for the poor.

Old Testament Prediction:

Zechariah 11:7 So I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock.

New Testament Fulfillment:

Luke 6:20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 14:12-14 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Application:

Zechariah describes the special heart of compassion that the Messiah will have for the poor. Beginning at verse 4, Zechariah details the future rejection of the Messiah by the leaders of Israel and the resulting slaughter that will take place in 70 A.D. Rabbi David Kimchi defines this entire text as descriptive of the Messiah,[1] His introduction to Israel, their rejection of Him, and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem that took place by Titus.

When we arrive at the New Testament we see clearly how Jesus fulfilled the words of Zechariah’s prophecy. The compassion of Jesus for the poor was clearly evident by the manner in which He consistently met their needs whenever help was requested of Him. Jesus specifically began His address to the gathered crowd of Luke chapter 6 with the words: “blessed are you poor…”

I didn’t really understand how blessed the poor are as Jesus describes them here in Luke 6:20, until I moved to the Philippines from the United States. Once I was living amongst the destitute, I began to grasp what Jesus was talking about. The poor have a humility that is not hindered by the collection of material possessions that is common in the U.S. My neighbors on Bantayan Island live in dark and small homes made of native materials, such as bamboo and grass and coconut lumber. They have no running water, indoor toilets, and usually just one small light. Their food consists mainly of white rice and dried fish. Their children play in the sand with smooth pieces of broken drift wood, discarded bottle caps and shreds of palm leaves. In spite of their poverty they have smiles a mile wide and the most beautiful and happy countenance I have ever seen.

When you tell these humble island dwellers about Jesus, their hearts are always open and ready to receive. They fall in love with the Lord so easy, because they are unencumbered by anything external that would hinder their total surrender.

It is certain that there will be many more poor who make it to heaven than the rich. Not because the wealthy are not welcome, but because wealth and material possessions often hinder a person from having a desire to come to the Lord and receive His generous pardon for sins.

Jesus has a very special place in His heart for the poor. He was Himself one of the poorest persons who has ever resided on the earth. He had no home or possessions. His parents struggled to provide for Him from the day He was born, until He left home to begin His public ministry. Jesus poverty was meant to attract the lowliest person on the earth. By His wholly unpretentious life, Jesus caused even the lowest of mankind to feel as if God was approachable.

The kingdom of heaven will be filled with these humble, souls who have found their treasure in Jesus, and their eternal reward in heaven, far more than any riches they might have been deprived of while on earth.

In the year 2011, the per capita income of the United States was $41,560.[2]
In the year 2012, the per capita income of the Philippines was $2,000.[3]

Despite their lack of income, the Philippines are known as “The Islands of Smiles”. People from all over the world who visit the 7,200 islands, and 93 million Filipinos, have stated that they are among the world’s most friendly people. If money is the secret to happiness, then why are 93 million Filipinos so happy, and 300 million Americans, to a large degree, so unhappy?

Many Filipino’s are Catholic by religion, but they have a greater love and dedication to Jesus, than a large number of Protestants that I have known in the United States. There are many doctrinal problems in the Catholic church, but the poor are not aware of these errors. They simply love Jesus and look to Him for their salvation and the hope of eternal life.

If we count ourselves as amongt the poor of the world, we should have great joy in the fact that Jesus has a very special place for the least, and the poorest of the poor. If you are struggling in your life just to survive, and wonder if God loves those who are destitute, rest assured—He certainly does. This prophecy of Zechariah is confirmation that God knows and cares deeply for the difficulties of the poor. By your poverty and lack of the material goods of this earth, the Lord has graciously set you apart to love Him in a way that is very difficult for those who are encumbered with wealth.

It is difficult for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of heaven, but it is not impossible.

There are many to whom the Lord has blessed with great wealth and prosperity, who are not hindered by their riches in fully dedicating themselves to serve the Lord. These unique individuals view the resources that they have as a gift from God that they are simply stewards over. When they lend to other Christians they do not exact great interest or profit, knowing that to the Lord they are accountable. They show favor to God’s people and view their resources as belonging not to themselves, but to God who has given abundantly to them so that they might share their abundance with those who preach and teach the gospel.

Those who seek to profit from other Christians will find that their behavior is greatly offensive to the Lord and a place of stumbling for people who observe their greed. It is never just “business” concerning the giving or lending of our finances to other believers. What we do to those who follow Jesus—we do to Jesus Himself.

Nothing that we have belongs to us. When we leave this earth, we will take nothing with us. Our money, possessions, careers, and families did not originate with us, they are gifts from God. No person can receive anything, nor have anything, unless it has come from the hand of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 4:7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

If during our life, we should receive wealth from the Lord, it is certain that He did not give these things to us to keep for ourselves. He places wealth in the hands of those who will use it to help those involved in ministry who teach and encourage the lost to discover the riches that are in Christ Jesus.


[1] 1. “Expositor’s Bible Commentary on Zechariah chapter 11.
2. David Ḳimḥi (ReDaḲ; Surnamed Maistre Petit).” JewishEncyclopedia.com.
[2] Per Capita Incomes of all 50 of the United States. http://bber.unm.edu/econ/us-pci.htm
[3] From Inquirer Business, Friday June 29, 2012. http://business.inquirer.net/68201/per-capita-income-to-rise-significantly-says-bsp

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