Does God ever cast off His people?
If ever you were inclined to say “yes,” Zechariah 10 should provide a clear rebuttal. It is late in the 6th century B.C. The northern kingdom of Israel has been gone for over 200 years. The people of the southern kingdom have returned to rebuild their nation, but it hardly looks like a nation. After twenty years out of exile, the temple has only just been finished. The city of Jerusalem still lies in ruins. To a Jew living in Jerusalem, looking around at their sad condition, he would no doubt say: “God has cast us off.”
But God hasn’t. He fully intends the restoration of His people and so the tribes of Joseph (the northern kingdom) will be restored as well as the southern kingdom of Judah. Together they will constitute God’s people, his Kingdom. This is the message of chapter 10.
Whenever I think of texts like this, I think of the story of the prodigal son. The father, seeing the return of his wayward child a “long way off,” ran to meet him. We liken this to the reception God gives when a wandering child returns to God. But there is a difference. The father in the story thought his boy “lost” or dead. God never loses sight of his children, wayward or not.
Don’t get the wrong idea: This doesn’t mean once we are God’s children we remain forever approved by Him. We do not. We do, however, remain His children.