God's Plans and Small Beginnings
“For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice,” Zechariah 4:10
God spoke those words of comfort and encouragement in a vision given to Babylon’s appointed prince of Judah, who was attempting to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem after it had been destroyed. God’s people had spent many years in captivity, but Cyrus, King of Babylon, had decreed that the Israelites could return to their land and rebuild the temple. The man in charge of this was Zerubbabel.
What an awesome, overwhelming task that must have been, to be in charge of doing such an important work for God. Do you ever feel like the work that God has placed in front of you is more than you can handle? Are your plans and your timelines not working out as expected? Even when you know that you are working within God’s will, sometimes it’s easy to doubt. Sometimes our beginnings feel so small. Don’t be discouraged.
Even with the blessing of Cyrus, King of Babylon, things didn’t exactly go according to plan for Zerubabbel. Two years after the return of the captives from Babylon, the foundation for God’s House had been laid. That was a time of celebration. But then, for the next sixteen years, the work stalled. There was red tape. The Samaritans did what they could to put a stop to the rebuilding, and according to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Zerubabbel was sidetracked, along with the rest of the people, in things like building costly houses for themselves.
I have things that I know I’m asked to do to serve God. I want to use my writing to allow God to speak through me to other women, to bless and encourage them. But there’s a lot of hard work in front of me. I have a lot yet to learn. I can allow myself to get sidetracked if I’m not careful, especially when I encounter push-back. But I can remember something else that God said,
“Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
He said that just a few verses before he told Zerrubabbel not to despise the day of small things, that he would someday rejoice.
These words of encouragement aren’t just for Zerubabbel. In the Bible, when God is speaking to the children of Israel, we can take those words for ourselves. If we are followers of Christ, we are children of the same promises because we are adopted into God’s family.
If you want to read all of Zechariah chapter 4, which is fascinating, you’ll get to read more about the context of these verses I’ve given you. God is talking to Zerubbabel about the House that he’s building, but there’s an unmistakable reference to a Later More Glorious House. That would be referring to the New Jerusalem, after Christ’s return.
This vision came to Zerubbabel after a sixteen-year delay in building. The temple was still just a flat foundation, a dream. God’s words were just what he needed. He got straight to work after that. Four years later, the temple was completed and dedicated, and indeed, there was much rejoicing.
Do you want to do great things for God? Almost all beginnings are small. Let’s not forget these words of encouragement. When we're working towards the plan that God has for us, we can be assured that one day, there will be a celebration, a cause to rejoice. We don’t know when that will be, but we can trust God to do what he says.