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By God’s Spirit

What can God do with the small?

Zechariah 4

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 8, In the year of our Lord 2012

Scripture Reader and Reading: Michael Crisp, Jr. – Ephesians 3.14–21


  1. Zechariah 4.1 – Sleeping After Seeing Visions from God

    1 Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep (Zec 4.1).

    1. The prophet had mighty things revealed to him by God.
      1. In chapter one the prophet had seen a vision of horses among myrtle trees.
        1. Then he saw another vision of four horns
        2. who had scattered God’s people and
        3. four craftsmen coming to fight against the horns.
      2. In chapter two the city of Jerusalem was measured.
      3. In chapter three the prophet saw a conflict between Joshua the high priest at the time and the devil.
    2. Direct communication from God would drain
      1. the soul of its energy, and
      2. the body of its energy.
    3. Thus, the prophet had no strength but to sleep.
  2. Zechariah 4.2–5 “What Do You See?” 
    1. In verses 2, 3 an angel asked the prophet what he saw,

      2 And he said to me, “What do you see?” So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. 3 Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left” (Zec 4.2, 3).

      1. The angel knew what the prophet saw.
      2. It was like God asking Adam where he was, for
        1. God knew where Adam was, and
        2. He asked even as teachers ask, who already know the answer.
    2. Verses 4, 5 show that the intention was not to show Zechariah a lamp stand,
      1. he was to see what they represented,

        4 So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?” 5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord” (Zec 4.4, 5).

  3. Zechariah 4.6, 7 – “By My Spirit” 
    1. According to verse 6,
      1. victory would not come by human might or power, but
      2. by God’s Spirit,

        6 So he answered and 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.”
        (Zec 4.6).

        1. In chapter 3, Joshua had received encouragement
          1. by seeing Satan rebuked for opposing the work of the high priest.
        2. Now the civil leader, Zerubbabel, is receiving the same thing.
          1. The primary purpose for Zechariah’s preaching of Zechariah
          2. was to encourage the people to rebuild the temple.
            1. Thus this vision in chapter 4 would cause the people to see
            2. how the Lord was for them, and
              1. that by His Spirit the work on the temple
              2. would be completed.
        3. Human might and ingenuity would not get the work done, but
          1. the Spirit of God,
          2. using people would finish the job.
    2. Verse 7 shows a great obstacle being removed,
      1. such as a mountain
      2. becoming a plain,

        7 “‘Who are you, O great mountain?
        Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
        And he shall bring forth the capstone
        With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”
        (Zec 4.7).

        1. First, notice the removal of a great obstacle.
        2. Second, notice that Zerubbabel would place the capstone on the temple.
        3. Third, notice the shoutings of grace.
        4. Fourth, notice that grace was an Old Testament reality.
  4. Zechariah 4.8–10 – Do Not Despise Small Things 
    1. Verses 8 and 9 promised that the work would be finished,

      8 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

      9 “The hands of Zerubbabel
      Have laid the foundation of this temple;
      His hands shall also finish it.
      Then you will know
      That the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.”
      (Zec 4.9).

      1. What God starts with His people He finishes.
      2. Galatians 3 shows that it is foolish to think
        1. that we can find some other way to finish what God has begun,

          3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 3.3).

      3. Philippians 1 reinforces a truth that Christians often forget,

        6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phi 1.6).

    2. Verse 10 puts forth a thought-provoking question,

      10 “For who has despised the day of small things?
      For these seven rejoice to see
      The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
      They are the eyes of the LORD,
      Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”
      (Zec 4.10).

      1. Sixteen years earlier the Jews had started the work of rebuilding the temple.
        1. They had received plenty of opposition.
        2. The whole thing started to look insignificant to them.
      2. Sometimes people do that today with the church.
        1. People think that it is small and cannot do anything.
      3. Are small things insignificant?
        1. Consider on the negative side:
          1. Have you ever had a grain of sand in your shoe?
          2. How about something real small in your eye?
          3. How large are the germs that make you sick?
        2. Consider on the positive side:
          1. How does the seed compare to what it shall become?
          2. Consider the clearances in an engine.
      4. God has always delighted in using the insignificant:
        1. God saved Israel through a prisoner—Joseph.
        2. God saved Israel through a man least in his family—Gideon.
        3. God gave visions to Babylonian kings through a captive—Daniel.
        4. God made a king, probably the greatest ever, from a shepherd—David.
        5. God saved the world through a carpenter—Jesus Christ.
        6. God made the gospel known to the world through fishermen and tentmakers—the apostles.
    3. The seven rejoice to see the day of small things.
      1. This pictures favor from God.
        1. Second Chronicles 16 shows
        2. that to say God’s eyes are upon you means
          1. that you have His favor,

            9 “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2Ch 16.9).

  5. Zechariah 4.11–14 – The Two Olive Trees

    11 Then I answered and said to him, “What are these two olive trees, one at the right of the lampstand and the other at its left?” 12 And I further answered and said to him, “What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?” 13 Then he answered me and said, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord” (Zec 4.11–13).

    1. The angel assumed that Zechariah should have known the meaning,
      1. especially after having part of the vision explained,
      2. that then he could figure out the rest.
    2. However, the angel or the word of the Lord, did give further explanation.
    3. Verse 14 reveals that they are the two anointed ones,

      14 So he said, “These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth” (Zec 4.14).

      1. In chapter 3 the prophet saw that God was with Joshua the high priest.
      2. In chapter 4 the prophet saw that God was with Zerubbabel.
        1. Joshua and Zerubbabel were the anointed ones.


  1. So what is the message for us? 
    1. God completes what He starts.
    2. Therefore, whatever plans He has for the church here
      1. He will finish, and
      2. we should not be discouraged.
    3. Whatever plans He has for you,
      1. He will finish,
      2. thus forge ahead and He will direct your paths as you acknowledge Him.