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The Day of Small Things

Due to the rebellion, worldliness, stubbornness, and general wickedness of God’s chosen people, God had brought them into captivity under the Babylonians. Jerusalem and its temple had been destroyed - reduced to rubble. Now (in approximately 520 B.C.) they were under the rule of Darius. Some had a repentant heart and God was leading them to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple there. The previous temple (built by King Solomon) had been magnificent - exceedingly glorious in its structure, beauty, precious materials, and workmanship. But the temple that they were building now was not like that.

When the foundation of this second temple was laid, those older men who had seen the first temple wept aloud because they could see that the second temple was not going to come close to the first temple in its physical glory.

“But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.”

Ezra 3:12-13

As the construction of the second temple continued, the elderly people saw that this new temple would be nothing in comparison to the first temple:

“Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?”

Haggai 2:3

And yet God encouraged Zerubbabel (the man who led the construction of the second temple) and all the people who were helping. And how did he encourage them? He told them that he would be with them and that he was the same God who had brought their ancestors out of Egypt with a high hand and great power:

“Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.”

Haggai 2:4-5

The same is true today. God is with those who are doing a seemingly small work for him. Think of that – God is with those who serve him in this way!

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Romans 8:31

Not only that, but this God who was with them was the same God who had brought his people out of Egypt with such great power. He is no less powerful today.

Although the second temple had the appearance of inferiority, God said that the glory of this latter house (temple) would be superior to that of the former temple:

“The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.”

Haggai 2:9

Many religious leaders despise those who appear to be doing a small work for God, but God sees things very differently. Consider the small fishes that the lad gave to Jesus and how Jesus fed thousands of people with them. Consider the very small amount of money that the widow woman gave and what Jesus revealed to his disciples about her gift. Consider who it was that God said would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Oh yes, God sees things quite differently from men, and we can be certain that his eyes are upon those who are faithfully doing a small work for him:

“For who hath despised the day of small things?

for they shall rejoice,

and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven;

they are the eyes of the LORD,

which run to and fro through the whole earth.”

Zechariah 4:10

Are you doing (or thinking of doing) a small work for God? May God encourage you in it and use it mightily for his glory.

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