This is the fifth of eight visions that Zechariah has at night. He sees a golden lampstand that is consistently lit by a limitless repository of oil. This image reminds the people that it is only through God's Spirit that they will succeed, not by their own strength and assets.
The angel comes and wakes Zechariah from his sleep. The angel asks him what he sees. Zechariah states that he sees a gold candlestick and gives a description of it.
This candlestick represents Israel. He then states that he sees two olive trees beside it. These olive trees represent Zerubbabel and Joshua. The olive trees supplied the oil (God’s spirit) for the seven lamps (Israel) of the candlestick to shine.
It’s All in the Details
What do we see? Are we close enough to God in our daily walk that he gives us the ability to see spiritual things?
Zerubbabel was given the obligation of revamping the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 3:2; Haggai 1:1, 2:23). The prophets Haggai and Zechariah gave moral and spiritual support to continue the work on the Temple.
Zerubbabel saw that the undertaking was done. Zerubbabel could do nothing without God, no might, no power, no money, no smooth talking, only by God’s Spirit.
As the work was being finished, the prophets empowered Zerubbabel and told him of when profound detachment and unfamiliar persecution would be everlastingly canceled.
Many individuals trust that to get by in this world, an individual should be intense, solid, unyielding, and cruel. In any case, God says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit” (Zechariah 4:6). The focal words are “by my spirit.”
It is just through God's Spirit that anything of value that will last is achieved. The exiled Jews that had returned were without a doubt frail, bothered by their foes, drained, deterred, and poor.
However, they had God on their side. As we live for God, we should decide not to confide in our own solidarity or capacities. Given the circumstances, we ought to rely upon God and work in the force of his Spirit (Hosea 1:7).
We cannot do anything unless God works through us. How can we let our light shine if we continually let the devil blow out the flame? Do we have enough oil (God’s spirit)? Are we resupplying our oil (God’s spirit)?
Do we need to change the wick in our candle? No matter what it is that the devil has put in front of us, with God, all things are possible. Climbing mountains can strengthen our muscles and endurance. Our strength comes not from ourselves but from the Spirit of God.
Zerubbabel laid the foundation and will finish the temple. How did he do this? It is because he was submissive to God’s will. Often, we are afraid to step out on faith.
We need to listen for the Spirit’s calling, and there are times that we must wait for the Spirit’s calling before we make a move.
A considerable amount of the more seasoned Jews were debilitated when they understood that this new Temple would not match the size and wonder of the past Temple that had been built during King Solomon's rule.
Yet, greater and more lovely is not better 100% of the time. How we help God might appear to be little and inconsequential at that point in time, yet God cheers in what is correct, not really in what is large.
We should be devoted to the little, open doors, start where we are, give our absolute best, and pass on the outcomes to God.
The Small Things in Life
And speaking of small things, how many of us know the importance of small things? Small things, by virtue of their size, tend to pose little danger. Many people may not think much about the small things.
But often, it is the small things that can mean the most or can accomplish great things in life. There are a few small things from the Bible that might be interesting to know; a heap of dust (Genesis 2:7), a rib (Genesis 2:21-22), a small stone that brought down a giant (1Samuel 17:41-49), a mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32, 17:20), and a small lunch (John 6:9-13).
How many of us think about “small” things around us? Our small church, the small response to the gospel in our area, the small impact on the people around us, the small efforts at faithfulness, those small spiritual victories, or our small evangelistic efforts.
Do we feel like that? Small? When we live in a world that points the spotlight on progress and numbers, our endeavors appear to be, on occasion, unimportant. We can even arrive at a point where we think, “Why do we even put forth the effort?”
But those small things are important. Look at a postage stamp. A postage stamp represents a place of origin, a country. Do I represent a heavenly country in my life? A postage stamp is ready for service.
Am I ready for service in the Lord’s work? A postage stamp goes whenever and wherever sent. Do I go where I am needed, where Christ wants me to go? A postage stamp is sitting on a shelf waiting to be used.
Am I just sitting on the stool of nothing, or am I too busy doing other things that God cannot use me? A postage stamp shares a message.
Have I shared the message of the gospel with others? A postage stamp sticks to the task. Did I persevere, or did I give in too easily when the task became a bit harder to do?
1. There is hope for all. God took a young boy who became Billy Graham.
2. There is no hiding place. There is no excuse that we can give. God chose a shepherd and made Moses. God picked another shepherd and made Amos. God took a young man and made Jeremiah. The list goes on.
3. There is a reason to share our faith. Anyone can look at an apple and count the seeds, but only God can look at a seed and count the apples. How much corn can come from one kernel?
Which is worse, an unused stamp or an unused Christian, witness, teacher, preacher, musician, singer, etc.? No matter how unimportant we think we are, we are important to God.
We cannot all be the same and do the same in the service of the Lord. Not all of us can do great and what is considered to be important things, but we can all do small things.
How we help God might appear to be little and unimportant at the time, yet God is happy in what is done rightly and just, not in what is or seems enormous.
Why Does This Matter?
Finally, we see the two olive trees, two olive branches, and two golden pipes. These could represent Zerubbabel and Joshua, who were dedicated to the task, and how the spirit flowed through them to reach the children of Israel.
These could also represent the two witnesses in Revelation 11:3. What type of witness are we, and are we witnessing at all? The who or what they are is not as important as what they did. They were willing vessels. They chose to be and do what God wanted them to do.
We need to realize that it is only through God’s Spirit that anything of value is accomplished. Determine not to trust in our own strength or abilities. Depend on God and work in His power.
What we do for God may seem insignificant, but God rejoices in what is right. Be faithful in small opportunities. Begin where we are, do what we can, and leave the results to God.
For further reading:
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Sasiistock
Chris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. He is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. You can check out his work here.
LISTEN: Being Complete in Jesus (Understanding Matthew 5:21-48)
Hearing Jesus is a devotional journey through the gospels, where we explore the teachings of Jesus chapter by chapter. If you're seeking to live a life that reflects God's, this podcast is for you.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
WATCH: 10 Sins Christians Downplay (and Why They're So Destructive)
Stock Footage & Music Courtesy of Soundstripe.com Thumbnail by Getty Images