GRACE WITHIN REACH

“Zechariah saw many visions from the Lord, including the arrival of the Messiah.

God’s plan for us includes grace and salvation. Our sins make us unworthy, but his grace protects us from his punishment.

All ships that land at the shore of grace weigh anchor from the port of sin. We must start where God starts. We won’t appreciate what grace does until we understand who we are. We are rebels. We are Barabbas. Like him, we deserve to die. Four prison walls, thickened with fear, hurt, and hate, surround us. We are incarcerated by our past, our low-road choices, and our high-minded pride. We have been found guilty.

We sit on the floor of the dusty cell, awaiting the final moment. Our executioner’s footsteps echo against stone walls. Head between knees, we don’t look up as he opens the door; we don’t lift our eyes as he begins to speak. We know what he is going to say. “Time to pay for your sins.” But we hear something else. “You’re free to go. They took Jesus instead of you.” The door swings open, the guard barks, “Get out,” and we find ourselves in the light of the morning sun, shackles gone, crimes pardoned, wondering, What just happened?

Grace happened.”

(Max Lucado, Encouraging Word Bible)

Zechariah 4, The Message

Fifth Vision: A Lampstand and Two Olive Trees

The Messenger-Angel again called me to attention. It was like being wakened out of deep sleep.

2-He said, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top. Seven lamps, each with seven spouts, are set on the bowl. And there are two olive trees, one on either side of the bowl.”

Then I asked the Messenger-Angel, “What does this mean, sir?”

5-7 The Messenger-Angel said, “Can’t you tell?”

“No, sir,” I said.

Then he said, “This is God’s Message to Zerubbabel: ‘You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit,’ says God-of-the-Angel-Armies. ‘So, big mountain, who do you think you are? Next to Zerubbabel you’re nothing but a molehill. He’ll proceed to set the Cornerstone in place, accompanied by cheers: Yes! Yes! Do it!’”

8-10 After that, the Word of God came to me: “Zerubbabel started rebuilding this Temple and he will complete it. That will be your confirmation that God-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me to you. Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They’ll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!”

Going back to the vision, the Messenger-Angel said, “The seven lamps are the eyes of God probing the dark corners of the world like searchlights.”

11-12 “And the two olive trees on either side of the lampstand?” I asked. “What’s the meaning of them? And while you’re at it, the two branches of the olive trees that feed oil to the lamps—what do they mean?”

13 He said, “You haven’t figured that out?”

I said, “No, sir.”

14 He said, “These are the two who stand beside the Master of the whole earth and supply golden lamp oil worldwide.”

WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?

The lampstand in the tabernacle was symbolic of the Messiah, the Light of the World (John 8:12), who one day would come and give the “light that leads to life” to all who would trust Him.  Believe in Him, repent of sins, receive His Light.

Church!  We need to wake up and fill our lamps so we burn brightly to lead people in this dark world to see and find their way to Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.  We must be jarred from merely surviving this life to living the abundant life Jesus wants us to live.  

In fact, before reading this passage this morning, I prayed to God as he was preparing my heart for the teaching of His Word!  I prayed, “The world needs You, Your salvation and teaching in their lives so badly.  We cannot just sit in pew or chair, sing a few songs of half-hearted praise, listen to a sermon that has been worked on for days then walk away and go on with the business of merely surviving without you to guide us.  When will we really listen to you?  Believe in You?  Base our lives upon what you say and invite you into every detail of our lives?  The prophets’ message that you had written down for us to read today is still true.  Oh Lord, help us.”

God provides the power. We cannot do this alone.  We cannot just decide to be good.  We cannot light the lamps without the oil of his Holy Spirit pouring into us.  “Don’t be discouraged!” was the essence of the prophet’s message. The Spirit of God will enable us to do what an army could never do.

“We can attempt to do God’s work in three ways: we can trust our own strength and wisdom; we can borrow the resources of the world; or we can depend on the power of God. The first two approaches may appear to succeed, but they’ll fail in the end. Only work done through the power of the Spirit will glorify God and endure the fires of His judgment.”  Warren Wiersbe, Study Bible

God finishes His work. God assured Zerubbabel that He would complete the rebuilding of the temple, and the people would rejoice at what God had done through them. Zerubbabel would set “the capstone” or the final stone to be placed in the building with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” 

Paul encourages us; “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.” Philippians 1:6-7, NIV

“For the eyes of the Lord roam throughout the earth, so that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9, NASB

We have a great God who can empower and bless servants who are dedicated to Him. He can cleanse us and He can empower us, so let’s trust Him and do His work in and through us!

Lord,

Awaken your church and begin with me.  Cleanse my heart, renew my mind, refresh and feed my soul while restoring the joy of your salvation in me.  I’m listening, ready to obey.

In Jesus Name, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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