Day 11 – Zechariah 4

Welcome back, fellow exile!


Memory scripture: “Not that I speak from need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 NASB2020

Time Period

Darius has been back in power for a couple of years in Susa, the capital of Persia, and a thousand miles away, we shift from our last chapter’s focus on the pastorate (Joshua, or Jeshua, son of Jehozadak) to the executive leadership (Zerubbabel).
Zechariah 4
Darius 2nd Year

We shift from our last focus on the pastorate (Joshua son of Jehozadak) to the executive leadership (Zerubbabel). The imagery can remind us of that used by John in the book of Revelations. The lampstand and 7 lamps are likely the visible temple, being fed oil automatically from two olive trees directly through pipes. The two trees likely represent the “anointed ones”, most directly the executive and pastoral leadership.

It’s an interesting passage set apart for executive leadership, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit”.

This is an extraordinarily important distinction to more fully understand at this juncture in rebuilding our temple: the difference between power and authority, and it’s a subject that has come up again and again in recent weeks.

If we asked Max Scheller, the German sociologist, what the difference is, he might say, “power is the ability to coerce by withholding love, one from another – ‘if you do what I tell you to do, because you have to, then I will love you.’ But authority derives from sacrifice—whoever sacrifices for you the most has the most authority over you.” 

If authority is derived from sacrifice, guess who has the most authority in human history… Yeshua. Philippians 2:5-11.

If you obey because you have to, then there is power at work. If you obey because you want to, that’s authority.

To drive this lesson home, the messenger uses a common task that would have been the responsibility of the leadership – maintaining the lamps in the temple. It was a constant and arduous task to keep the light burning, requiring oil ceremonies, daily cleaning, and setup. The leaders were likely caught up in the daily needs of the temple and may have been more focused on the routine than on the mission to rebuild. But that’s not sacrifice. That’s just the chores that need to be done.

When we start to sacrifice, our faith is strengthened, and we can move mountains. But what was the sacrifice G-d was calling the executive leadership to take on? That their hands finish the work they began laying the foundation. You see, they had likely finished enough of it to start working on the daily chores, the “day of small things,” like maintaining the lamps, but they had left the foundation unfinished.

Is outreach our unfinished foundation work in rebuilding our temple after Covid exile? G-d has a solution in mind – He will give us the inexhaustible Spirit, the necessary olive oil, to perpetually feed the daily needs if we will first set aside power, start to truly sacrifice, and finish the foundation. What is more, our leadership will gain authority for the perpetual daily work going forward. Our church will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hands of our executive leadership.

Big Take-Away from Zechariah 4

25) Pray that the Lord shows us the incomplete areas of our foundation work.
26) Pray for the wisdom to understand what sacrifices need to be made and the courage to make them.

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3 thoughts on “Day 11 – Zechariah 4

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