Zechariah / chapter 11 (read the chapter)
If you were God, if you were the most powerful Being in the entire universe, don’t you think you’d do a little lookin’ out for number one? That seems reasonable to us, I suppose. After all, there aren’t too many people in positions of power these days who use their position for the benefit of others (unless they’ve benefited themselves first).
But one of the things I’ve been contemplating about God recently is that He doesn’t tend to protect Himself. Although He’s certainly in a position to do so, He doesn’t insulate Himself from suffering. Have you ever thought about that? I mean, even Jesus was betrayed by one of His own disciples! Surely, He would have seen that coming, and He could have stopped it if He’d wanted to, right?
Talk about seeing it coming . . . this chapter indicates He saw it coming more than 500 years in advance: “I told them, ‘If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.’ So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.” (vs 12-13)
Five hundred years before a little guy named Judas made a deal with the religious leaders to sell out Jesus, God declared how the deal would go right down to the very last detail. It’s not just that there were thirty pieces of silver. Zechariah also foretold the details of the money being “thrown” back into the temple and, eventually, given to the potter.
I find all of that incredible, because we think of power as being good for (among other things) insulating oneself from hardship.
But Paul made it clear that godliness works in the exact opposite way. True power is good for exposing oneself to hardship: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing.” (vs 5-7)
God doesn’t use His power to benefit Himself. He uses His power to benefit us. That’s why, when the situation warrants hardship and difficulty, God doesn’t protect Himself. He doesn’t insulate Himself from suffering. Instead, He willingly enters our time and space to suffer with us, bearing in His own person the effects of the sin that we chose. He runs toward, not away from, suffering.
That is what it means to be God.