When we face roadblocks along the path of life, it’s good to stop and realize that our human ingenuity or sheer willpower may not be enough to resolve the problem.Jill Briscoe
I am teaching my final lesson today from my book, Pack Your Baggage, Honey, We’re Moving to Paris! for a 3-week Zoom Bible study. I have loved every minute! And my hope is to be able to share this same message with other groups at Women’s Retreats and Conferences.
In fact, sometimes my desire to get this “baggage release” message out, causes me to forget to look to the Lord for his timing and to stay in step with his Holy Spirit.
Sometimes I actually think it is all about my ability to get the word out that I want to teach. That I am the one who has to make things happen if my ministry is going to expand.
I am so thankful this is not the case!
This morning, as I was spending time with the Lord, he gently (well okay …maybe a little forcefully) “reminded” me of the story of Zerubbabel and the 2nd building of the temple. A storyline found in the book of Ezra.
Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah. God had assigned him the job of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. It took a while, like 14 months to be exact, for the people to finally get started on the construction of the assigned building. And then with only the foundation in place, the inevitable happened, opposition to the rebuilding rose up. And the building was halted.
As the people surveyed the foundation which they had built they realized this temple wasn’t very big. It wasn’t as big and grand as Solomon’s temple had been. The small size greatly disappointed them- and they wept.
But Zechariah told the people, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” (Zech 4:10).
You see, God had a plan for this temple and all he wanted was for Zerubbabel to grab the plumb line and start employing it. All Zerubbabel had to do was to start…to be obedient …to say a resounding yes to the job and then to GET MOVING.
That interruption from temple building was 17 years long. For 17 years, they had to look at the small foundation and wait for the next part of the job. UGH!
Finally, they got the go-ahead and this final phase of the build was 3.5 years long and those years of work brought the needed completion to the project. The temple was finished!
But remember the temple reconstruction had started when Zerubbabel simply picked up the plumb line.
“Do not despise the small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin!” WHAT PRECIOUS WORDS! Words I am going to put in front of me and treasure as I go through the next phase of whatever God plans for me.
So, what actually happened here?
God had given Zerubbabel an assignment. Zerubbabel had a choice- to obey and move forward in God’s strength or to remain untouched by God’s instructions to him.
What was the result of Zerubbabel’s obedience? He got to participate in and see the entire temple be built. His story of obedience is one that has been preserved in history. And all it took was, picking up a plumb line! Zerubbabel could have disobeyed, but by choosing to obey, he was able to see God work and display his power.
What is the small beginning that God has for you? What is your plumb line? Today, will you pick it up and trust God to bring his might and power to the table? Will you watch God’s mighty spirit move mountains?
Zechariah wrote these words, “This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’ Then another message came to me from the LORD: “Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has sent me. (Zechariah 4:6–9 NLT)