Read Zechariah 4. What hope is being presented to the people?
In this vision, Zechariah sees a lampstand fed by two olive trees, which refers back to the candlestick located in the Holy Place of the wilderness tabernacle (Exod. 25:31-40). The seven lamps are arranged around a large bowl that serves as a reservoir of oil.
The bowl, with its bountiful supply of oil, symbolizes the fullness of God’s power through His Spirit. The seven lamps shine with abundant light, a symbol of God’s abiding presence, which dispels all darkness. Just as the olive oil is conducted directly from the trees to the bowl of oil at the top of the lampstand without any human agency, so the power which comes from God is constant and sufficient and also needs no human agency.
The message of the vision given to the prophet is that the temple in Jerusalem will soon be rebuilt. God’s Spirit, not just human efforts, guarantees the completion of the work. This bold message is given in spite of the fact that the obstacles faced by the builders appear to be as great as a “mountain” (vs. 7).
The prophet is not told who is represented by the lampstand, but we can be sure that the two olive trees represent the two leaders of Judah, Joshua and Zerubbabel. In worldly terms, Zerubbabel’s position never could match the royal power and might of his ancestors David and Solomon. From a human point of view, all efforts and resources available to the builders were inadequate. Yet, God’s Word promises that a king is not saved by the size of his army, nor warrior by his great strength (Ps. 33:16). In this way the leaders are told that it is only when the Spirit leads that every detail of service can glorify God.
In this prophetic passage, Christians are given an important principle to remember: God may call us to difficult tasks, but through the work of His Spirit He can accomplish His purpose (see Phil. 2:13, 4:13). By the Spirit, God provides the power to do His work now as He did then. This is accomplished not by human might or force but by the Lord working through those who are open to be used by Him.
Read carefully Zechariah 4:6. Why is it so important always to keep in mind our utter dependence upon God? What can happen when we forget that all that we have, or can do, comes only from the Lord and His power working is us?