May 15: By My Spirit

Read Zechariah 4:1-14

9/11/01…The events of that day may be etched indelibly in your mind.  Among other things you can still picture the Trade Towers belching smoke and ultimately collapsing.  Those are painful, discouraging memories.  You probably know that there is a plan to rebuild at Ground Zero.  The “Freedom Tower” is designed to stand 1776 feet high as a tribute to those who lost their lives and as visible reminder of our nation’s resilience.

Meanwhile, Zechariah’s vision from chapter 4 takes us to a 9/11 event in the history of God’s chosen people.  Under Nebuchadnezzar, Babylonians had invaded Jerusalem, destroying the walls surrounding the city and the temple that had been central to worship.  Decades after God’s people returned to Jerusalem from exile, they began to rebuild the temple under the leadership of a man named Zerubbabel.  But problems arose.  Opposition and fear brought the project to a standstill.  Years later, construction began again.  This time, discouragement permeated the construction site and the city as they compared what they were building with the size and beauty of the temple Solomon had built centuries before.  Who wants to be part of a project where completion is questionable and where the end product might be disappointing?

In the midst of that discouragement, God gave this vision of a beautiful lampstand supplied with oil.  He gave a message to Zerubbabel that the project would be completed and He would be pleased.  In the midst of discouragement, God gave a message of hope!

Are you experiencing discouragement in your work and ministry?  As one drawing from the Vine of Jesus, make sure you pause to note two important things that God’s people needed to know in Zerubbabel’s day.

  1. Human strength and wisdom were not the key to their success.  It would be the divine Spirit’s provision that would lead to ultimate completion of the project.  (v. 6) Are you relying on something else in the work and ministries you perform?
  2. Small things done for God were meaningful to Him.  While the people were discouraged about the size and appearance of the temple, God told them not to despise the day of small things.  (v. 10)  Do you look down on your contribution to what God is doing because someone else is doing it with more splash or with greater response?