Zechariah 4:1-10 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, 2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: 3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. 8 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. 10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
What’s In A Name?
Being given the birth name of “Buffaloe”, names have always interested me – particularly Biblical names. Take, for instance, the name Zerubbabel. Many Biblical names are filled with hope. The name:
Joseph means “The Increase”.
Moses means “One Taken Out”.
Joshua means “God our Savior”.
Jesus means “God our Deliverer”, for He came to save us from our sin.
Names are important. Names define us. When the Child of God is made by faith in Christ, their focus is no longer the world, but Christ. We belong to God. We serve God. God is in control!
What does the name Zerubbabel mean? Even if you don’t know Hebrew you can see that part of his name is Babel which is a reference to Babylon. Zerubbabel means “A stranger in Babylon”. Why would his parents name him such a thing? His very name signals depression!
From the time that God saved Israel God told Israel that their strength was in Him. “The JOY OF THE LORD Is Israel’s strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Yet Israel kept wandering from God. Israel chased after others gods and goddesses. The Israelites intermarried with unbelievers, bringing the curse of an unequal yoke into the nation (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers”
When a believer enters into intimate relationship with an unbeliever, the believer will be drawn downward, toward the flesh. You can take pure fresh milk and mix it with turned rotten milk, and the whole will become rotten. When light blends with darkness it can only do so by becoming more like the darkness. We who are Christ’s have been delivered from the power of darkness, and is translated into the Kingdom of God’s own Son, the Light of the world (Colossians 1:13). Oh Beloved!
“Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
but rather, reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11)
“What communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Israel’s choices led the nation to fall under Babylonian captivity in 587 BC. The armies led by King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, wrecked the Temple, and took Zerubbabel’s parents into captivity. Zerubbabel was the son of Shealtiel (Ezra 3:2, 8, 5:2; Nehemiah 12:1), of the Tribe of David. Through the Prophet Haggai ordered Zerubbabel along with Joshua the High Priest to return to Jerusalem to rebuild it (Haggai 1:13-14).
God worked with Zerubbabel and Joshua, and led the King of Persia to release some 40,000 captives
back into the land of Jerusalem.
When the remnant returned to Jerusalem (536 BC) with Zerubbabel and Joshua at it’s head the people immediately began rebuilding. In the second year of their return the foundation of the Temple was laid. The Samaritans (2 Kings 17:24-31) volunteered to help rebuild the Temple. When Zerubbabel rejected their offer (because they were unbelievers) the Samaritans wrote the Persian King, who in turn ordered the construction to cease.
Zerubbabel was discouraged.
What he and the exiles did was so little to restore the Temple. If you have never experienced clinical depression, I can tell you that one of it’s key symptoms is FATIGUE, exhaustion, and hopelessness. One person described it as “a desire to go to sleep and not wake up”. Could this be what Governor Zerubbabel was going through? Both High Priest Joshua and Governor Zerubbabel had high hopes when coming back to Jerusalem. In fact, as things initially progressed so rapidly, they thought that the work set before them would be finished in record time.
Beloved, God has His own timing. God knows what is best. It is our God Who controls the times and the seasons. It was God’s intent to save the world through His Son Jesus Christ, yet thousands of years passed between the coming of the Messiah through Manger and Cross. Why? Why did God take so long? The Bible says simply:
Galatians 4:4-5 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
God sent forth His Son when the fullness of time was come – when the time was right. God alone:
Daniel 2:21 … changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
God knows when the best time is for all things. God’s people need to heed God, to seek His face in prayer, to learn of Him, to follow His lead. We do not need to presume upon God. Doesn’t the Scripture say:
James 4:14-15 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
God knows best. He did not send Zerubbabel and Joshua back to the land for nothing. God will not abandon those who seek His face. Let us then be faithful, not discouraged.
The Vision Teaches Us About Success
And Following God
Rousing Zerubbabel out of what I believe was a depressed state, he is given a vision that tells us something great. What did Zerubbabel see?
Zechariah 4:2-3 … I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: 3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.
Zerubbabel saw a golden candlestick with seven lamps or lights shining from it’s top. Seven is the number of God. Light is what God brings into the world. This golden candlestick is a symbol of God’s Old Covenant people, Israel. In the Old Testament Israel was a light unto the world. In the New Testament we see not Moses nor Joshua, but Jesus Christ, and Him standing in the midst of seven golden Candlesticks that represent His Church:
Revelation 1:20 … the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
God has always had a people. In the Old Testament He had Israel, and in the New Testament He has His Church.
God’s Israel and God’s Church are to be light bearing, bringing forth spiritual light into this sin ridden world. The Lord shows Zerubbabel a candlestick (this is Israel) and on either side of that candlestick two olive trees. In the Bible the olive tree always symbolizes either Israel or an Israelite that God has raised up. Zerubbabel asks:
Zechariah 4:11-12 … What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?
The Angel of the Lord told Zerubbabel:
Zechariah 4:14 “These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”
The two olive trees were Zerubbabel and Joshua. God wanted His chosen men to know that, though work was progressing slow, the work would be finished. If God is in it, nothing can stop it.
Dr. C.I. Scofield, the source of the well known Scofield Reference Bible, wrote:
“The two olive trees represent Joshua and Zerubbabel … It is only as Joshua, Zerubbabel, or any other human being represents Christ, the true Priest-King, that he fulfills this vision …”
When a child of God does the work of God that he or she is called to, that work will always be completed. It would not be completed because Joshua and Zerubbabel were great, but because God is great.
We have little strength, but God has infinite strength.
We have little resources, but God has infinite resources.
Do not allow discouragement or the size of the project to define you. Do all things to God’s glory and at His direction, and you will surely succeed!
In the Scripture the Apostle said:
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
and Jesus told us:
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
God’s Word to Zerubbabel and to you and I is that if we are working with God and for God’s glory, then we cannot be defeated. God can take our little and make it into much.
When the Apostle Paul came up against an obstacle greater than he could conquer, he sought the Lord that the Lord take it away. The Lord’s answer was:
My Grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)
It is when we – weak and unable – yield ourselves to God that God can do His greatest miracles. Once the Apostle Paul realized this he said:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 … Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Why did God have Zerubbabel and Joshua wait for 16 years before they finished the Temple?
Because the first part of rebuilding the Temple was accomplished in the power of man. But building the Temple is a God work. So the Lord had the work stopped until Zerubbabel humbled himself and, in brokenness, surrendered himself to God. What did the Apostle say?
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
When we surrender, doing God’s will, the Lord will then enable and do His good pleasure. The Angel of God told Zerubbabel:
Zechariah 4:6-7 … This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.
Let me put this in a language for all to understand. Once Zerubbabel surrendered to God the Lord told him “This is MY work, not YOUR work. I will do it. I will do it. And the foundation you built will not go to waste. Zerubbabel, you will lay the headstone – not the cornerstone, but the headstone, the top. You will complete this Temple, for I am going to make it happen. The mountain of opposition and despair shall be leveled, for I the Lord Thy God shall level it for Zerubbabel.“
When we stop trying to do God’s job and let God be God and we His faithful children and subjects, then and only then will light and life come back into our nation.
Zechariah 4:9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.
Do Not Despise The Day Of Small Things
Zechariah 4:10 For who hath despised the day of small things? …
People have a tendency to despise small things. But when God intends to bring about a great thing, He always starts with small things.
- From one man Abram God brought forth a nation Israel. (Genesis 12)
- From a walking stick lifted by an old man God parted the waters of the Red Sea
- From a little shepherd boy David God brought down Goliath. (1 Samuel 17)
- From the jawbone of an ass Samson killed 1000 Philistines (Judges 15:14-16)
- From a handful of meal and a little oil God fed three people through a famine (2 Kings 4)
- From a child’s lunch Jesus fed 5000 men. (Matthew 14:13-21)
The greatest picture of what God does with small things is seen in the birth of Christ. God told a very young virgin she would have a son. She brought forth her son, and lay Him in a manger. The reason this small baby came was:
Matthew 1:21 … thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Eternal God became human child in order to save us from our sins. Such a small baby. Such a singular Man. Yet God chose to bring us salvation through this one Man.
God works through small things.
How does God save us?
By our small act of faith and obedience.
There are many who will leave this life one day and wake up in hell. Why? Because they did the BIG things they thought would impress God, but never did the one small thing He asked. Jesus said:
John 3:14-18 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
What is it that keeps a man, a woman, or a child from the Kingdom of God? It is but a small thing. God did not ask us to do some heroic, extremely difficult thing that only a few can accomplish. I have been at the gym before and seen men squat lift 500 pounds in weight. If I had to lift 500 pounds in weight to go to Heaven or to be adopted into the family of God, then I would be damned forever. I have seen men and women do pull ups, go through college courses and graduate with honors, play intricate instruments and melodies. Had God made a test for His adoptive Children one or strength or agility, many of us would die in our sins. But God did not do this.
The way into Heaven is through small things.
Romans 10:9-10 …if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Why, WHO can do this? Why, EVERYONE who is not arrogant within themselves. A small repentance. A small confession. A small act of obedience. The Apostle preached:
Acts 2:38-39 … Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
“But”, you say, “This seems too little, and too easy. Surely there is more to entering the Family of God!” It may seem more, but it is not. Jesus said that the only way to enter into Heaven is to become small yourselves.
Matthew 18:1-3 1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Oh Beloved, it is the small things that matter with God. The deadliest animal in the world is neither lion, nor bear, nor tiger, nor snake. The deadliest of all creatures is the tiny mosquito, responsible for the deaths of millions every year. No one will go to hell because of the big sins – murder, rape, adultery, theft. No, the sin that will damn will be the small thing. The little disobedience. The times we spend judging others rather than asking ourselves:
Am I serving the Lord? Am I His, and is He mine?
It is the tiny cancer cell that kills the body. It is the failure to believe as God asks that damns the soul. Have YOU been saved by faith in Christ? The small things matter. Trust God. Believe on Him. He will take care of the rest.
May God touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit. Amen!