“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)
Very briefly, we find in Zechariah chapter four that the prophet Zechariah was shown a vision by God. The gold lampstand has a bowl on top and seven lamps with seven lips on each lamp to receive oil from the bowl. From the bowl above are 49 pipes that furnish oil to each of the lamps. There are also two olive trees, one on the left and one on the right of the lampstand with golden pipes providing oil from the bowl.
The lampstand and the seven lamps are a picture of the eyes of God as His omniscience and omnipresence are the Light of the world. Therefore, Jesus is the Light of the world. (John 8:12; 9:5) We, the Church, are to be the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14) And in this passage, Israel is to be the light of the world, as originally intended.
The bowl above the lampstand and the oil are a picture of the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit. Apart from the Holy Spirit, God does not work, and man cannot work. (Acts 1:8)
Nehemiah was the lead contractor of the building that was taking place.
The two olive trees were Joshua the high priest as one and Zerubbabel the governor as the other. They represent the political and priestly structure of Israel. They are representative of Our Lord Jesus who will reign in the Millennium as both Priest and King of kings. Yes, this vision given to Zechariah is a prophecy of Christ’ rule in the one thousand year reign, the Millennium, after the Tribulation, but it is much more than that.
The entire message is about the power of God. It is saying that what God wants done, will be done. It is saying that all “we”accomplish can only come to fruition by the power of God in our lives. The Holy Spirit is the power of God. He is God.
In creation, it was the Holy Spirit who “moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)
It was the Holy Spirit who made Sarah’s womb fruitful again.
It was the Holy Spirit who stood between the Egyptians and Moses and the children of Israel.
It was the Holy Spirit who guided the slingshot of David.
And in this passage, it was the Holy Spirit who made possible the building project that was being conducted by the leadership of Nehemiah. It was being accomplished, not by Nehemiah, or the governor Zerubbabel, or the high priest Joshua, but by the Holy Spirit. God was ready to bring Israel home from the land of slavery, again, and start anew. He made it all happen, and He would be their Light to the world.
Now we come to us.
In our lead-in passage, it states, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit.” The Hebrew word for “might” means the power of many, such as an army for example. The Hebrew word for “power” means the power of one, such as a king for example. All the contractors or armies, or kings, or priests on earth are not going to accomplish the task of restoring Israel to the homeland. “But by my spirit” was the only way it would work. “But by my spirit” would make a dream come true.
Are we any different than the people of Zechariah’s day? Can we have any spiritual accomplishment in our lives apart from the Holy Spirit? Some seem to think so.
I wonder how many times today’s churches have proceeded with a project (just name whatever comes to mind) without first consulting God? Have we asked of God, “Should we do this? Is this your will? If it is your will, how should we proceed?” By the way, I don’t think a one-time prayer meeting on Wednesday night, with actual time spent in prayer of roughly 10-15 minutes classifies as consulting God about a given issue, but that is often how it is done.
Maybe you have been called to preach or pastor a church or be a foreign missionary or to another ministry. Have you truly been called? Why do you think that? How much time have you spent in prayer about that “calling?” Many are actually in the niche that Christ called them. With a preacher for example, you can often tell by the content of their message. However, many more I have heard apparently made their own niche. It didn’t come from the power of God.
What is going on in your life as a Christian? Do you feel like you’re groping in the dark for what to do next? Maybe you’re depending on your power instead of the Holy Spirit.
Look, I’ll step out first and head to the front of the line. We all, as Christians, need to take a closer look at the third person of the God-head, the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples;
“16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)
Remember when Peter denied Jesus not once, not twice, but three times before the rooster crowed, just as Jesus said he would? Do you recall how bold he was on the day of Pentecost? What happened? The Holy Spirit is what happened. Peter stopped relying on Peter, and allowed himself to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit. From that day forth, Peter was no longer just a disciple trying to keep up with John. He became an Apostle, one of the greatest of the original Church leaders, and bravely faced death for his Lord.
As long as we try to live our Christian lives by our own power, we will continue to stumble along through life, confused and overcome by life’s surprises.
Maybe we are one of those who thinks “I’ve got it all together. Everything is going just the way I want it.” Maybe it isn’t going the way “He” wants it. Do you even know Him? Could Jude be referring to you?
“12These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” (Jude 12-13)
There is no power in us. Whether you are relying upon God’s acceptance apart from His Son, or upon your own power as a true Christian, you and I have no power in us. The power comes from the Lord God Almighty, and He offers it freely by His Spirit. Don’t know His Son, Jesus? Listen to the Holy Spirit who invites you to come to Him. Aren’t satisfied with your life as a Christian? Step aside, and give Him the control of your life. Let Him show you what He can do through you by His power.