This reminder was given in the context of God’s assurance to Zerubbabel that despite the many problems and obstacles faced in rebuilding the Temple, God Himself would help him and he would certainly complete the rebuilding project.
The Jews who returned from the Exile had started rebuilding the Temple, but stopped after they encountered opposition (Ezra 3:8-4:24). Several years later, through the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, they resumed the project (Ezra 5:1-2). God promised to supply them with the resources needed (Haggai 2:7-8, 19). But no sooner had they started when they faced opposition again (Ezra 5:3-17). And because it was painstaking work and progress was slow and they realised that the new Temple would be much smaller and far less impressive than Solomon’s Temple (Haggai 2:3), the builders became discouraged. It was into this situation that God’s word came, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” (Zechariah 4:10).
Our eyes naturally focus on present realities and visible circumstances. Hence, we often do not see what God is accomplishing in the invisible realm or the long term. When progress is small, we often dismiss it as a natural occurrence, take it for granted and do not attribute it to God. However, all progress, even if it seems small, comes from God and is a sign that He is working out His purposes. Instead of focusing on the slow progress, God wanted them to focus on His purpose and promises, namely, that the Temple would be completed and more glorious than Solomon’s Temple (Zechariah 4:9; Haggai 2:9).
Do not despise the day of small things. What mattered was that the temple was completed against all odds. Also, unknown to the Jews then, it did become much grander! History tells us that Herod enlarged the second temple and made it a truly magnificent one. More than that, true to His purpose, God’s temple today (i.e., the Church of Jesus) is far more glorious than Solomon’s Temple.
Do not despise the day of small things. Who would have imagined that eleven uneducated, ordinary and unimpressive disciples who deserted their Master Jesus out of fear, would fill the entire Roman Empire with the gospel, turning it upside down shortly after Jesus’ death. And look what the Church of Jesus has become today, as a result of what they did!
Today if you are trying to reach out to a pre-believer who does not seem to be responding at all, even after much effort on your part; or you are trying to make an impact for Jesus in the marketplace and feel overwhelmed by the odds that are against you; or you are a cell leader who is going nowhere in your ministry; or if you cannot see yourself doing anything significant for God because of some perceived limitations; or you don’t see a breakthrough in the problem you’ve been praying about, say to yourself, “Do not despise the day of small things.”
Don’t focus on the slow progress or lack of progress. Focus on the fact that God is working out His purposes. He wants to show His glory through your situation and will bring people to Christ and bless people in other ways through what you’ve started doing. Focus on this!
Monday: Zechariah 4:6b
‘…Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.
Tuesday: Zechariah 4:7
“What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’”
Wednesday: Luke 13:18-19
18 Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.”
Thursday: 2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Friday: Hebrews 6:12
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
Saturday: Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Sunday: Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
All scriptures are quoted from the New International Version (NIV), unless otherwise stated.
By Pastor Yong Tai Tong