Welcome back, fellow exile!
Darius 2nd Year
G-d has a way of cramming chapters of meaning into a single verse like verse 2. If the project was to rebuild the temple, and the goal was to minister to the entire country of Israel, why would the angel be measuring Jerusalem? It may initially seem odd because its perimeter lies between the project and the goal.
In business, a risk to any project plan is a thing called “scope creep”. As a big project evolves, it’s easy for people to add one great idea after another to the plan. The temptation is to say, “yes” to all of them. And the enemy to your success wants you to say yes because he knows you will fail at the whole shoot-and-match if the plan gets too big.
As they were rebuilding the temple, of course the ideas of further helping those to the north and the south would come up. Of course, they would want to do it. But the Lord was interested in measuring an intermediate barrier between “not enough” and “too much” scope. With total compassion and while not turning a blind eye to the suffering beyond this intermediate barrier, He cried, “Flee and escape!” from where they were to Jerusalem.
So, the measurement was a wise limit to their scope, and the angel was prudent to measure it to make sure it would meet the needs of the multitude of people and cattle.
It’s good for us in the light of this prudent scope cap to reflect on Haggai 1, “ambitious plans fail” because G-d Himself blows them away if His house remains desolate while yours is fine. It’s also good to consider Ezra 3, where we need to eat a large elephant one bite at a time, celebrating each victory along the way. The discipline of limiting scope to ensure a successful plan was followed with the amazing promise that G-d will dwell in the midst of our temple and many nations will come. We should be silent before Him and consider what is to result from this essential, disciplined step in a plan for success.
Big Take-Away from Zechariah 2
21) Pray and ask G-d to reveal the scope cap perimeters to our efforts.
22) Take a moment to be still, silent before the Lord to contemplate how awesome it is that He has joined us in this effort.