God’s Provision for Accomplishing His Purposes
November 6, 2022
Goats are social creatures, apparently. They like to do things together. So a couple of years ago, when two goats escaped from their yard in Pennsylvania, it was not surprising that they went on an adventure together. Their escapades took them to the Mahoning River bridge and they found access to the 8-inch wide lip of the support beam for the bridge and evidently one of them said, “I wonder where this goes?…” and the other one followed. And soon they found themselves 100 feet above the ground facing an abutment that would not allow them to pass. The only thing to do was to turn around. One managed the trick, and the other didn’t. So this was their dilemma. Apparently the brown goat would occasionally head butt the white goat to get him to take a couple of steps backward. But on the 8-inch ledge 100 feet above the ground the white goat was understandably resistant. They were stuck. [NPR]
I hope you have never been on a literal ledge like that. But you have felt like you have been in such precarious positions, haven’t you? You have experienced hard decisions, and like the white goat, felt like someone was pushing and provoking you into a dangerous position. You’ve suffered hardships in this world, and at times you have been attacked and provoked by others. It is a common plight in this world to suffer. After multiple episodes of persecution in Acts, Paul said, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). He is right. The history of God’s people is a largely a history of suffering.
Suffering was something the Jews certainly understood. Even after they were allowed to leave Babylon and return to Judah after 70 years in exile, they still faced oppression. All they wanted to do was rebuild their temple. Yet after laying the foundation, the opposition grew so intense that they feared continuing and for 15 years, no work was done. They foundation was bare and there was no place to gather for worship.
Into that circumstance, God sent Haggai and Zechariah to encourage and exhort the people to resume rebuilding the temple. Zechariah’s ministry began with a series of eight visions on the night of Feb. 15, 519 B.C. Those visions were a revelation of God and His power to provide for the Israelites even while they were oppressed. This morning we consider the fifth vision where we find God’s encouragement that —
God provides His people all they need to accomplish His purposes.
This fifth vision, paired with the fourth vision (the two combining to be the center and heart of the eight visions), is given to encourage the two leaders, Joshua and Zerubbabel, that God has provided the resources they need to complete the building of the temple. It is a reminder to us as well that God is faithful to enable us to serve Him and to serve Him effectively when we appropriate what He has given us.
This morning, we consider Zechariah’s fifth vision, which reminds us of God’s ability to accomplish His purposes through people, by giving His people all they need to do His work:
- What Zechariah Saw in the Vision (4:1-5)
- What Zechariah’s Vision Meant (4:10b-14)
- What Zechariah’s Vision Reveals About God (4:6-10a)
- God has supplied an authoritative Word (vv. 6, 8)
- God has supplied His determinative Spirit (v. 6b)
- God has supplied unlimited power (v. 6c, 9b)
- God has supplied an end to all troubles (v. 7a, 9a)
- God has supplied a gracious provision (v. 7b)
- God has supplied a work that is not small (v. 10a)
Download the rest of this sermon on Zechariah 4:1-14.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.