Who despises the day of small things (Zechariah 4:10a NIV)?
God begins all His great works from small things. In this passage people were asked not to despise the day of small things. This is because it is part of human nature to look down upon small beginnings. People are generally impressed only by the big things of life. So God had to make it clear to His people that those things that begin small do add up to become significant things of life.
The historical context of this passage is the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple after it was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Many years later another king by name Cyrus, under God’s gracious dealing, allowed Jews to return home from exile. They started rebuilding the temple of God. But the work was slow and was opposed on all fronts. Many despised the efforts of the Jews to rebuild the temple. Under such circumstances the people who were rebuilding grew discouraged.
So at the appropriate time this message of encouragement came. It holds much relevance in our times too. God’s work almost always has humble beginnings. Those who have occasion to see such small starts will naturally wonder whether it will ever be completed. God’s work sometimes makes only slow progress. Sometimes it is a lack of vision about God’s plan that slows down the work. At other times it is opposition from enemies that stops the work. But God’s clear message for us today is not to be discouraged by the seeming smallness of our beginnings in His work. It is our duty to continue rebuilding. If its origin is of God, take heart, He will also complete it.