Monday, May 18, 2020

The Spirit: Leadership & the Rebuilding of God's Temple (Haggai 2 & Zech 4)

I might be preaching another long sermon this Sunday. I have already started preparations in earnest and hopefully by Thursday when the recording is done, I shall be truly prepared. I will focus on Zech 4 but like most Scripture unless you read and understand the surrounding context, it is almost impossible to understand this rather bizarre vision of Zehcariah of a lampstand with two olive trees, one standing on the left and the other one on the right side of the lampstand. The first attempt of rebuilding the fallen temple started as soon as the exiles returned to Yehud/ the province of Judah (537BC). But within months, the work was stopped by local opposition (Ezra 1-6) and it was not until the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah that the work recommenced, some 20 years later till then temple was completed in 510BC. One of Haggai's pronouncement was that, "God's Spirit is with His people" and that they should not fear but rise up to do the work of the rebuilding. It is one thing for the prophet to declare God's Word but another thing for the people to feel the impact and believe the word by the mouth of the prophet.
Obviously, it was felt by Zerubbabel and Joshua, the two leaders of the post-exilic community and in Haggai 2, the community also felt the presence of the Spirit and gave strong support to Zerubbabel.

The vision of ch. 4 of Zechariah is directed mainly to Zerubbabel whilst the preceding chapter 3 is meant to showcase Joshua as a renewed high priest, symbolised by a change of cloth and a clean turban on his head. But Zech 4's vision is bizarre in that it is written in several seemingly disparate sections so much so that some Bible editions try to rearrange the text to make it flow better in their opinion. But let Scripture be true and every man a liar. There are several lessons for leaders and the exercise of the leadership of God's people in Zech 4.

First, it is by God's Spirit that any godly or spiritual work gets done and not by worldly power or resources. It is not by might of Babylon's or the Persian kingdom or the power of great world governments but it is by God's Spirit. As leaders they have to get that truth in their souls, in their spirits or else they are not qualified to be God's chosen leaders like Zerubbabel.

Second, any opposition God's leaders might face, it will simply melt away from them because God's Spirit is with his chosen instruments and nothing can hinder God's work through God's appointed leaders. As leaders, we are bound to face with much opposition like a great mountain but like Zerubbabel, we will cast it down by the power of God's Spirit.

Third, the stone given to Zerubbabel is inscribed with 7 facets, representing God's seven eyes and in the book of Revelation, the Lamb's 7 eyes are the God's 7 Spirits sent out into the world. If the stone is with Zerubbabel, it means he could see what God sees, namely, having a global vision for God's people. Much more so we are living in a globalised world, the church of God needs global leaders filled with God's 7-fold spirit to lead his church in the world.

Fourth, Zerubbabel cries out - 'Grace- grace unto it" and it is by the grace of God, that God's work will be accomplished from beginning to end. Hence, the leaders of the early church in Acts are said to be filled with grace. It is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ poured out to his church through His appointed leaders who know and experience God's grace in their hearts and do not rely on human wisdom or human methods but only by and through God's grace, the building of His church will prosper.

Fifth, the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel is that what his hands have started (laying the foundations), his hands will also complete because God's appointed leaders have staying power (by the Spirit) to complete what is begun in the Lord.

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