Zechariah: Small Beginnings {Minor Moments}

The Israelites had a problem with looking backwards instead of forwards. At a time when they should have been filled with joy at progress and excitement about the future, they were crying for the past.

“And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy” (Ezra 7:11, 12).

They thought that this new temple would be much less important and no way near as beautiful. It looked so small. It seemed so pointless to go on.

“Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?” (Haggai 2:3).

They saw the temple that was being built and cried. They remembered how incredible Solomon’s temple was—and to be fair, it was pretty incredible. Just read 2 Chronicles 2-5 to see all the work and wealth that Solomon put into making the temple. This new temple seemed so small and insignificant to the Israelites, and they despised it. It is likely that the older generation were not helping, saying things like, “This temple will never be as beautiful as the last one!”

…and in some ways, they were right. At least, in the most physical of ways. It wouldn’t be as beautiful physically. Ever. It was going to have to be built on government funds with limited resources.

But God didn’t care about that. He wanted them to do the work now. God had great plans for this new temple. This new temple had to be built. It was going to be the temple that Jesus Himself went to, which in God’s eyes made it all the more glorious. He challenged them on their current attitude:

“For who has despised the day of small beginnings? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel” (Zechariah 4:10)

They saw it as insignificant. They saw it as less important. They saw it as never having the potential of the past—but God saw differently. God’s perspective is different to ours. He sees all the possibilities and potential—and He can bring it all together if we put our hands to the work. He can take something that seems unimportant and insignificant to us and turn it into something glorious. We simply have to trust Him.

Zerrubabel (the appointed leader of the day), likely felt too small for the task too – but the Lord strove to give him the confidence necessary to move forward. God could even make the mountains move for Zerubbabel, if that’s what he needed. Nothing would be able to stand before them; as the cornerstone had been laid, so would the headstone – they had started the work and could finish it.

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” (Zechariah 4:7)

God made it clear that it was He, (not Zerubbabel or any other man) who would enable them to rebuild the temple – and that is why they had to build and to trust.

“This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts. Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, “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” (Zechariah 4:6, 8-9).

God is effectively telling Zerubbabel, “You feel like this is a large and worthless task—but realize that I am the one who gave you this plan, and any obstacle that comes in the way of this task I will chop down. Believe that you can do this.”

It is then that He calls all of Israel to account for their mockery:

“For who has 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” (Zechariah 4:10).

God was overseeing the work completely and would make sure that it would happen. Though this project has been looked down upon by everyone from the very beginning because it has not been as grand as the temple formerly had been – though they felt small and insignificant, having been in captivity for 70 years – though they expected to lose – God gives them the reassurance that from these small beginnings come great things.

“Yes, you are small—but don’t think about that. Remember that great things come from small beginnings.”

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If we only plug ourselves into God’s plan, He will provide what we need, and even something small can become something great. Look to the future, see, and believe that great things can happen in the Lord’s kingdom – then simply get to work, trusting that He is with you and will provide.

When you follow God’s plan, then great things will happen.

small beginnings

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Other Posts in this series:

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