For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice ….”
– Zechariah 4: 10
Anyone who hasn’t turned on the news and come away disheartened isn’t paying attention. The years that saw men and women strive for noble ideals in the interest of their countrymen, when the Constitutional Convention assembled to debate the great truths that should be enshrined as the foundational principles of a nation, those days are long past. The leaders that strode across the canvas of time – George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson – seem shrouded in the distant past replaced by the frontrunners of our current presidential primaries, a morally and intellectually bankrupt buffoon and an equally corrupt power-hungry crony capitalist.
The prospect that either one of these two candidates may one day be at the helm of our government has led me to question the state of our republic and the judgment of an electorate that hardly deserves the freedoms that men have died to preserve.
Truth is, we are besieged by bad news on virtually every front: social, economic, and political. Our Judeo-Christian culture has been under assault for the last century and we are now living among its spiritual ruins much like the wreckage of Jerusalem after the Babylonian siege in the 6th century B.C.
Back then the prophet Zechariah looked around at the desolation as a remnant struggled to rebuild in the hostile environment of the times and proclaimed it “the day of small things.”
This remnant was hoping just to survive, hoping against hope, hardly daring to dream of more prosperous days of spiritual and national restoration, or a day when the land and the people would rejoice at the return of a king to the throne of Israel. Yet this was what Zechariah was telling them, that the messiah would come, a king to reign over his people once again. Only they must prepare their hearts to receive him.
When the king did come to save his people, it was hundreds of years later during the time when they were under Roman rule. Another day of small things. And startlingly, his people rejected him. They had been waiting. Talk of this king, the messiah who would deliver his people, was never far from their lips. But when he came, they chose to put him to death instead of a murderous revolutionary zealot.
This king was different though. He was the true king of Israel, a descendant of David, but he was also the incarnate Son of God, truly man and truly God. And death could not hold him. Sinless and holy, he had come to set his people free from sin and its judgment.
By dying, he broke the very bonds of death and rose from the grave. No man until him had defeated death. Now he offered this victory over death to all who would believe in him, eternal life as sons and daughters of the living God, born again by His Spirit, through faith, the gift of God.
Before returning to heaven, this king promised to return. And he told his people to watch and wait.
So once again, God’s people are living in “the day of small things.” And it’s difficult not to “despise the day of small things” as we wait for the king’s return. Only this time we know exactly who the king is. Jesus.
Does that make a difference? Well, it should. For one thing, there’s no room for error. He will be recognizable to all the peoples of the earth when he returns. Many will rejoice. Those who rejected him will tremble with fear at the coming judgment. Moreover, even as we wait, the news of our times doesn’t alter our expectation that he will return.
Once he came at just such a time as this, a “day of small things.” This time his people will be ready to receive him. This time his return will be for eternity. Hallelujah!