Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Do Not Despise Small Beginnings - Zechariah 4:8-14

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today 

Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

Gangs of men on relief work during the depression, 1930s, by Sam Hood


Another Message Came

While Zechariah stands before the seven branched lamp stand and the two olive trees, another messenger arrives from God with yet another message.

The first message given by the first messenger remains powerful. "Not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies." Or as the last blog's title emphasizes:  Not by Military Strength nor by Individual Ability but by God's Spirit and Will the tasks assigned by God are accomplished.

Remember this message when God places his leaders and ministers among you. They do not operate by their individual abilities (which you examined before calling them rather than seeking God's will) but by the Spirit of God. When you judge and reject them, you judge and reject God. Likewise, if they operate by their own individual abilities, beware! They may even be wolves in sheep's clothing.

The same truth applies to all other leadership or skilled positions in the church and in the world. If the individuals doing the work were placed into their positions, ecclesiastical or secular, by God, they operate by the Spirit of God or at least that is what he has called and gifted them to do. If they operate from their own mindset and individual opinions and abilities, their path is littered with destruction and they personally will be destroyed unless they repent - which includes changing everything about who they are and what they do. God requires no less.

The New Message

For the meaning of the two olive trees, I refer you back to the last writing. We add here only that Jeshua and Zerubbabel represent not only the God whose Spirit flows through them, but they are also representatives of two heavenly beings who stand in the court of the Lord of all the earth. This may also mean that two heavenly beings stand in the court of the Lord who are the messengers and enablers of Jeshua and Zerubbabel. Just think of that, our ministers and leaders, religious or secular, if placed by God, have messengers standing in the court of the Lord of all the earth. You, if you have accepted God's work planned in advance for you to do, have a messenger standing in the court of the Lord of all the earth to receive messages and enabling to be enact in you.

A foot note is added in verse 10 that tells us more about the seven lamps burning on the lamp stand. These represent the eyes (or John the Revelator calls them spirits) of the Lord that search all around the world. Another comforting thought.

But again the message relay from the Lord is not what the symbols represent. And though the messenger affirms that Zerubbabel will indeed finish the temple - the same message that was given to him by the last messenger, the real message, the heart of the message given through Zechariah to us is:

"Do not despise small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin."

God is pleased that someone is actually doing something by the power of his Spirit no matter how small that beginning is.

Church, do not despise the small beginnings made by leaders and craftsmen God sets in place. Quit criticizing these servants of God, whether they work in the church and its missions or in what we call the secular world. Some beginnings are small because God has his servants in training. Some beginnings are small because God can not yet trust his servant to not get a big head. Some beginnings are small because God's servant has not yet learned that the work must not only be God-given, but that they must also wait for God's who, what, when, and where. The work must also use God's dictated methods and means. Being in tune to God's Spirit enough to hear and obey in each area and step is a truly sobering, humbling, and awesome obedience.

Don't forget that some of God's Spirit empowered and sent people have worked for years planting seeds never to see the harvest being reaped by those who came after them. Some of God's men and women work to bring light to darkness and the darkness rejects it. The recipients turn away and we judge the beginning to have failed when in reality it was a call to escape judgment. And that call, when rejected, leads to direct judgement by God.

This is hard for some people. God does not act fast enough in their opinion and because he does not we despise the small beginnings made by his blessed ones. Remember God waited four hundred years before unleashing his punishments upon the inhabitants of Canaan. God has waited centuries holding off his judgement against the faults and rebellions represented by Islam today.

God is being very patient with the Western Church and holding back his purifying hand in the churches and countries that owe their beginnings to his plans and his will. Do not despise small beginnings.

Tear your hearts.
Return to the Lord your God, 
for he is merciful and compassionate,  
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. 
He is eager to relent and not punish.
Joel 2:13 NLT

Do not despise small beginnings.

Photo Credits: 
Gangs of men on relief work during the depression, 1930s by Sam Hood, no known rights

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