Sermons

Summary: We might feel small, just as the post exiles built a small temple. But when we are in the hands of God He chooses to use us as we are. Don’t be disheartened by how you think things are. Don’t despise the day of small things.

You can listen to the full message here:-

http://www.nec.org.au/listen-to-a-sermon-series/jexit-judah-comes-home/

Jexit: Judah Come Home

Don’t Despise the Small Things.

A sermon on Zechariah 4:1-14

We continue our series on Jexit – focussing on the history and situation of the Judahites when they returned from Bablyon.

The key Bible books which we will consider are Ezra, Nehamiah and Esther. We will also look at Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

Not all of the books, but a series of sermons taking selected passages from these books.

When we last looked at the returned exiles they were standing around the rebuilt foundations of the temple.

Haggai had spoken to them to encourage them to restart the temple building program.

The people had started.

But some older members of the group kept talking about the “good old days” and how great Solomon’s temple was.

The current temple looked so small.

Solomon’s temple was bigger and greater … and look at this tiny building!

So, again, discouragement had set in.

But God wouldn’t let his people remain discouraged. So two events happened.

Firstly the prophet Haggai gave the people this powerful reminder:-

But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’

Haggai 2:4-5

The particular reminder here is “I am with you.” He is the Emmanuel. He is the “God with us”.

Then, secondly to show that he was with them, God made sure that Darius of Persia decreed that no-one should prevent the temple from being built.

Darius provide workers.

Dairus provide finances.

Even though the start was small, God was with them.

God spoke to his people through Haggai.

On 24th day of the 7th month in the second year of Darius - 17th October 520BC

But then God also spoke to his people through Zechariah

Zechariah starts his ministry in the eighth month of the second year of Darius - November 520BC.

This means Zechariah is speaking into the same situation that Haggai was speaking into.

Which makes me think that the people really need to hear from God.

There is no other time when two of the minor prophets are speaking to the people at the same time about the same issues.

Zechariah has an important word for the returned exiles so, in this Jexit Series, we will spend a few weeks looking at some of what he has to say.

The part that we are going to consider today starts by opening to

Zechariah 1:7-8a which gives us a context.

7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo. 8 During the night I had a vision,

This is the beginning of the ministry of Zechariah.

We know exactly when it started.

24th Day, 11th Month, Second year = 15th February 519BC

Zechariah has a very serious dream on this night. Full of strange visions. Oracles. And an angel who keeps asking questions and giving answers.

Do you understand this …?

Do you understand what I am showing you ….?

The record of the dream doesn’t end until Zechariah 6:15.

Near the middle of the dream is the vision we are going to focus on today

Zechariah 4:1-14 (read)

Now if you are struggling with what is going on here you are in good company.

In response to the question of the angel who says Do you know what these are? Zechariah says no.

He is just as confessed as we are - and he is seeing the vision first hand.

If the person having the vision is confused, then we can allow ourselves to be confused.

But, through the confusion, there is obviously a message for the people.

The people who, just recently, had been standing around a small temple foundation and all these people are thinking, “Is what we are doing worth it?”

Zechariah speaks into that situation.

Don’t lose heart.

Yes it all just seems to be … well it is almost a little pathetic isn’t it.

Yes compared to the temple of the past this is not so glorious.

And when you find yourself in that situation there is the temptation to just try and work harder.

But, sometimes, all the hard work in the world will not bring about a single change.

Many years ago I had an XE Falcon which needed some work done on the engine. I can’t remember what was broken but to get to the area we needed to take off the fan. The fan is connected to car with a fairly good-sized bolt.

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