The more I’m reading Zechariah, the more I’m starting to love it. This is another great passage that’s rich in meaning.
The temple was still under construction at this time, and the people were still facing opposition. It was uncertain whether Darius would continue to allow the rebuilding project, and perhaps Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah at that time was growing discouraged.
But at that time, God gave Zechariah a vision of a golden lampstand, like that of those found in the temple. But while the lampstands in the temple constantly needed to be refilled by the high priest, these lampstands were filled by two olive branches.
And then the angel gave Zechariah this message:
This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty. “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!’”
Then the word of the Lord came to me: “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.” (6-9)
In other words, God was saying, don’t worry. You’re not going to complete this project because of your own strength or by the power of those who support you. Instead this project will be done by my Spirit working in you. And though you may face giant obstacles, they will become level before you. And when you bring out the capstone to this temple, you will know that it was by my grace that it happened.
The NASB puts verse 7 this way,
He will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” (7)
To those who were discouraged by the slow start, and by how pale this temple seemed in comparison to the one built by Solomon, God said,
Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel? (10)
In other words, “What you have done, and what you are doing may seem small and insignificant. But don’t despise small beginnings. And don’t despise the things that I have called you to do, no matter how small they may seem. For I rejoice when my people do my work, and you will be rewarded.”
Zechariah then closes with an explanation of the lamp and the two olive trees at the beginning of the vision. When he asked about them, and particularly the two olive branches beside the two gold pipes pouring out golden oil, the angel replied,
These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth. (14)
This is in reference to Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel, two men that God had chosen to serve him and to complete the project of the temple he had given them.
But to me, the most significant thing is this: Oil is often used as a symbol of God’s Spirit. And here we see two men of God whom the Spirit filled and from whom his Spirit poured out to do his work.
In the same way, God fills us up with his Spirit by his grace. And through us, his Spirit pours out to do his work. To touch the lives of the people around us and to make a difference in this world. And as we do, God’s will will be accomplished not by our own might and power, but by his Spirit flowing through us.
So let us do his work, not despising the day of small things. And through his Spirit constantly pouring in us and through us, we will make a difference in this world.