Summary: God’s message to the people of Israel reminds us of the need to rely upon His Spirit in the work we are doing today. We need to pray, trust Him and offer what little we have. Success is assured, not by human efforts but by the power of His Spirit.
Zech 4:6 “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty.
The will of God will never lead to where the grace of God cannot keep you.
• When He calls us to do a task, He will give us the strength to do it.
• When He calls us to move, He will show us the way.
• Whatever God calls us to do, it must be something that can be done.
The people of Israel experienced this truth in Zechariah 4.
• They had just returned home to Jerusalem, their homeland, after 70 years in captivity.
• Everything had been destroyed, and the place in ruins for 70 years.
• They have to start everything from scratch – rebuild their homes, build the Temple of God where they can gather to worship, and to rebuild the city walls.
Zerubbabel was the leader of the group. He organised the people to rebuild the Temple. They started on the work but became very discouraged.
• Their numbers were small and their efforts seemed feeble, when compared with what their ancestors had accomplished before.
• The people were depressed and wanted to give up. The work was difficult and their resources limited.
• Can they really do it? Will their efforts make a difference?
It was at this time the Lord came and spoke to them through the prophet Zechariah.
• God gave Zechariah 8 messages through 8 visions in one night.
• The passage we read today was God’s 5th message: The Lord said to Zerubbabel, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”
(1) BY HIS SPIRIT, THEREFORE PRAY
If it is by His Spirit, it means we need to pray for the work we are doing today.
• It is not a good-to-have, but we must pray.
God assured them that they would finish the temple (4:9) because He will help them.
• It will not be by human efforts. This cannot accomplish the task.
• “But by My Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty
• If He is Almighty, then the work will surely be done.
• And when it is completed, the prophet says in verse 9: “Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.”
If this was God’s plan, then no one can thwart His will.
• God planned for them to return after 70 years. God planned for them to rebuild the nation Israel. God wanted them to rebuild the Temple and the city walls.
• If it is God’s will, then He will enable them to complete it.
• It is not about man’s strength or resources, but God’s will.
• If it is God’s plan, the people have to learn to trust God and persevere in faith.
The Lord says, any obstacle to this work, even if it is as great as a “mighty mountain” (4:7), will be removed. It will become level ground.
• “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it.” (4:9)
It will be BY MY SPIRIT that the work is completed.
• Spiritual work will require the Spirit’s work.
• The people need to look to God and not at their difficulties.
• Therefore we need to PRAY for the work we are doing today. Prayer is our only guarantee of success. We need the help of the Holy Spirit.
Eventually the people will see and know that this is the work of God.
• When the capstone is brought out (4:7), in order words, when the last piece of stone is laid, when it is completed, people will shout: “God blessed it! God blessed it!”
• Don’t give up too easily. Paul says to the Galatians, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:9)
(2) THE WORK CAN BE DONE, THEREFORE HAVE FAITH IN GOD
The work is not easy but it is God’s will. And we are called to do it.
• In the Bible, we see that when God calls people to do His work, He rarely calls them to do easy tasks.
• He did not call Moses over to a burning bush, and ask him if he can take care of a few more sheep. He has to face Pharaoh and bring the people out of Egypt.
• God asked Noah to build an ark, something he has never seen or heard before. And to bring a pair of every kinds of animals into it.
• Abraham was to leave his home and move to a place God would show him, not knowing beforehand where that is.
• Paul was called to preach the Gospel throughout Asia Minor, but he faced constant persecution and imprisonment, and for most of the time, if not on the run for his life, he was in prison.