Week 05

Step 01: Pause and Prepare

Find a quiet place and quiet your mind. Pause. Take a couple of deep breaths. This biblical practice is taught throughout the Psalms. Hit the mute button on all the other voices in your life. Clear your thoughts so God's Word can fill them. If you feel like rushing past this part that's how you know for sure you need to do it!

Think upon our foundational scriptures, then go to Step 02.

"For the word of God is alive and powerful."

Hebrews 4:12, NLT

Remember you're about to encounter the living God in His living Word!

"...train yourself in godliness." 

1 Timothy 4:7b, ESV

Our discipline to create time for devotions is essential. But it doesn't change our lives. It is God's Spirit alone that transforms us. Open your heart to God and read the scriptures! 

Step 02: Read the Scripture Passage

Zechariah 4:1-10a, NLT

Then the angel who had been talking with me returned and woke me, as though I had been asleep. 2 “What do you see now?” he asked.
I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl of oil on top of it. Around the bowl are seven lamps, each having seven spouts with wicks. 3 And I see two olive trees, one on each side of the bowl.” 4 Then I asked the angel, “What are these, my lord? What do they mean?”
5 “Don’t you know?” the angel asked.
“No, my lord,” I replied.
6 Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 7 Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!'”
8 Then another message came to me from the Lord: 9 “Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me. 10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

Want to read today's passage in a different version? Visit Bible Gateway and choose your favorite!

Step 03: Answer the Four Questions

Grab your notebook and write down your answers to these four questions. It will help you engage with the text, process what God's Word is saying to you, and encounter God in your devotional time.
* If you find it difficult to figure out what the scripture passage is about we highly recommend getting a study bible.
Learn more

Question #1

What does the scripture say?

In your own words, what you think the scripture passage or story is about.

(Touch the dots for more questions.)

Question #2 

What does the scripture say to me?

What do you feel the passage is speaking to you in regard to your life or current situation?

Need a little help? Click here.

Question #3

What do I want to say to God about the text?

What emotions and thoughts does the text create in you? Communicate them in prayer.

Question #4

What difference will this text make in my life?

In what way does this text help you live for God?

What is Zechariah 4:1-10 about?

Books like Zechariah can be difficult because they are full of strange imagery and dreams that require interpretation. But getting a clear message is not impossible despite our initial reservations to jump into books like this. The dream we're reading in our passage is about two olive trees and a lamp stand. The trees stand for the two leaders of Zechariah's day, Joshua, the high priest, and Zerubbabel, the heir of King David. The point of the dream is that success for rebuilding the Temple and the city will come only if they trust in God's Spirit, not in their own wisdom and strength.
Without going into too much depth, the dream we've read today is the fifth of nine. It's paired with the fourth dream, and then these two dreams are in turn paired together with the sixth dream. Together they make the point that God's kingdom will come only if the people are faithful to God.
The people want to know when God's kingdom will come. God wants to know if they will become the kind of people who can belong to His kingdom. It was a good question for them, and a good one for us today. Will we be faithful? Will we trust in the power of God's Spirit? Are we living our lives in such a way as to participate in God's kingdom (which of course has already come, in and through Jesus)?

Want more? Watch the overview video on Zechariah from The Bible Project below!

The Bible Project

Overview of Zechariah

Recommended Resources

ESV Study Bible

Life Application Study Bible