Summary: the prophetic proclamation of Zechariah to Zerubbabel and Joshua, "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts." Note: this sermon is broken into three installments above-may be preached as a series.
Essence of the Lesson:
The Holy Spirit is the perpetual power source for God’s People, and enables them to conquer insurmountable obstacles!
One New Year’s Day, in the Tournament of Roses parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas. The amusing thing was this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With its vast oil resources, its truck was out of gas!
You will give your age away if you smile when I speak of gas lines, OPEC, 55mph, sub-compact cars, the Alaska Pipeline, thermostat on 78-it was the day of the Energy Crisis of the mid-seventies. Today with our SUVs, two-dollar gas , forty dollars to fill up, many of us are going through a crisis every time the E light comes on!
Men have dreamed for centuries of perpetual motion machines-devices which could continuously tap bottomless energy resources which will never run dry and be continuously replenished. Leonardo Da Vinci argued against yet dreamed of it, classical music has been written about it. Even today engineers dream of the theory and scam artists peddle stock in a free energy company across the Internet.
But the sad truth of reality is that we are all experiencing an energy crisis. We’re all running slower and slower. We rebound and rebuild at a decreasing rate. The entire universe is subject to the law of maximum entropy. We’re expanding at a decreasing rate. Even the speed of light is slowing measurably. Perpetual motion and free energy in the physical world that we know, is not going to happen.
Ultimately, it means that all history is Holy History-we are not cycling through or working out our karma as Eastern religion would tell us. We are proceeding to a culmination of history. God’s timer on His creation is winding down, and His purpose is being accomplished!
As we come to Zechariah Chapter 4, the prophetic vision shows us an unlimited supply of energy available to God’s People, as they face the tests and trials of accomplishing His Holy Purpose! If we are tapped into the power source, the Lord will empower us to face the impossible, the insurmountable!
The true and never-failing source of limitless power is the Holy Spirit! The only way that we can accomplish God’s will in our lives and in the earth-is to plug into this infinite, perpetual, continuously renewing resource!
As we approach Zechariah chapter 4, we find the Prophet experiencing the fifth of eight very special visions that an angelic messenger took him to in the night.
Zechariah has been called the "prophet of the long-range vision." Taken together, the visions that he was shown some four hundred years before Christ are simply amazing-Zechariah by the Spirit saw clear and detailed visions of Messiah, the Cross, the end of the age and the Millenial Kingdom.
The name Zechariah means "The Lord Remembers." It was a prophetic name, given a baby born among prophetic people. He was a third generation prophet of Israel, and God was raising up a young man who would encourage His people and their leaders in a time of great crisis.
Sometime around 538 BC, the King Cyrus of Persia obeyed the voice of the Lord, as prophesied by both Jeremiah and Ezekiel. He decreed for God’s People to leave Babylon and to return to their homeland to rebuild the Holy City. Not only did he decree for them to leave their captivity, but he financed the journey.
They left Babylon in the Spring, and towards the end of the seventh month (late September) the returning exiles were determined to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, complete with burnt offerings and all the ceremony, all upon the new altar which had been constructed. The altar was the first order of business. These exiles wanted to re-connect with their God on an intimate level most of all.
At the Great Feast, there were shouts of joy from many, yet cries of lament from others who had seen the former Temple in all its glory. This new altar of sacrifice, constructed hurriedly and with crude resources, paled in comparison to Solomon’s grand Temple, one of the most lavish edifices ever constructed in the time! Discouragement set in and began to take a dastardly toll.
An old man sobbed and wailed:
"How will we ever be able to return to the former glory that this place once knew? The former splendor and the manifest presence of God will never be a reality in Israel again. Surely we will only be able to experience a shell of religion, and remember the day when God dwelt among His people."
Discouragement became a mountain that seemed insurmountable.