Hammers over Horns

Mark Fackler

READ : Zechariah 1:18-21

I asked . . . “What are these?” (v. 19)

Children play a guessing game. Rock smashes scissors, paper covers rock, and scissors cut paper. In real life, rocks smash scissors and smash paper too. Rocks win every time.

In this second vision, Zechariah sees four horns and four craftsmen. We need help understanding his message, but once there, we too should feel more hopeful. Horns are a power symbol. They make trouble for God’s people. The unity God wanted when he brought the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt was messed up as world powers brought their armies down on Israel and Judah. The four craftsmen are much weaker than armies. They hold hammers, not powerful weapons (horns). They are not trained to win battles or conquer kingdoms. Slowly and steadily, they just build, one brick and board at a time.

God says hammers win, horns lose. How is that?

The vision teaches that building for God makes a positive, enduring difference. Fighting and greed finally mean nothing at all. Horrible armies have their day, then like smoke they disappear. What’s done for God lasts.

To give your life solid meaning, put your energy into God’s service. God needs honesty in business, justice in statecraft, clarity in education. God needs plumbers and musicians and civic leaders to pick up a hammer and show a frightened world what really matters.


Lord, where are my skills needed?