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Zechariah 4:9-10 • The Day of Small Things

“‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? But these seven will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel—these are the eyes of the Lord which range to and fro throughout the earth.'”
    —Zechariah 4:9-10 (NASB)

The messages through Haggai and Zechariah basically come between the 4th and 5th chapters of Ezra, which is the reason for the Walk with the Word reading schedule breaking up the book of Ezra in this manner. Under extremely unfavorable earthly circumstances they have returned to the land for the sole purpose of rebuilding the Temple and have only gotten only as far as laying the foundation before they give up. Yes, there was visible resistance against their efforts, but the truth is that it was not going the way they expected. Those “who had seen the first temple, wept” at the realization of how far it was falling short in comparison to the first one. :”(Ezra 3:12-13)”: It was not a project that had been derailed by earthly forces, but really more the case that they took the opportunity to set it aside in the name of that opposition because it really was not going the way they had expected anyway.

Once upon a time we required our children and teenagers to read the biographies and accounts of the lives of missionaries and the pastors and teachers of Evangelicalism. In doing so the biblical pattern of “the day of small things” is repeated over and over and over again. No church, people group, revival, or spiritual movement ever began big and completed all at once; they all started very small and most often required a lot of sweat and perseverance over a long period of time before Holy Spirit momentum escalated their earthly impact. We were brought up with the notion that a person might have to persevere a whole lifetime to realize the results. I think one of the reasons crazy church growth doctrines have gained such a foothold is the desire for instant results over a lifetime of spiritual service.

These verses allude to “the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel“. This literally applies to the process of building the earthly Temple but it is a repeated biblical metaphor for something that is measured against the standard of God’s Word and ways. Repeatedly throughout Scripture people are told to measure things as an illustration that something must be built according to God’s standards. How is a Temple built? Not just brick by brick, but layer by layer, everything needing to be in perfect alignment so it will support itself, not collapse upon itself. That is why “the eyes of the Lord” are happy to see this, someone doing things according to His Word in a world where He clearly sees how everything else is going. God is in a hurry to see it done right, which ironically often means that the schedule most often is slow and steady, one properly placed brick at a time. Eventually enough bricks are incorporated that before you realize it you have a whole building.

Some people want to be a part of something that is already made, something that is at its zenith rather than start from scratch. To be sure it is no crime to join a proper, thriving ministry, but the greater question Jesus puts for in the Parable of the Talents :”(Matthew 25:14-30)”: and the Parable of the Minas :”(Luke 19:11-27)”: is whether you are going to be responsible for what has been entrusted to you. In a consumer-driven society we can make the mistake of measuring success in the same way it is measured by a retail store, by what percentage of the market has been captured. In God’s economy it is actually measured by what percentage of your daily obedience is committed. The greatest, most lasting efforts for the Kingdom of God have come from faithfulness to the smallest and most humble of efforts because the obedience placed in them produced that faithfulness in greater quantities along the way.