Are you facing what feels like an impossible task? Are you wondering where you will get the strength, the wisdom to tackle it? Perhaps the task seems like an uncrossable river or a mountain you can’t tunnel through. I feel like that sometimes when facing a difficult task. But there is a scripture I like to read when feeling that way. It is Zechariah 4:6: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts.”
Read Zechariah’s prophecy and see that Zerubbabel has a big job ahead of him. He is a descendent of King David, a man tasked with leading the first convoy of Jews from the captivity of Babylon back to their homeland. God has chosen Zerubbabel to supervise the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. But Zerubbabel ends up leading a ragtag bunch surrounded by enemies on all sides. Add to that, they are discouraged!
Then God gives word to the prophet to deliver to Zerubbabel and future generations: “Not by might, nor by power, but my spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” The Hebrew word translated “might” is a word that every other time is translated as “army” (2 Kings 6:14; Jeremiah 46:22; Ezekiel 17:17; 38:15). It is like God is reassuring Zerubbabel that, while he might think he needs a great army, he has something better: the Spirit of God!
After all, it was not an army that brought Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land. It was the Spirit of God. It was not an army that brought Israel out of the Babylonian exile. It was the Spirit of God. So God’s word to any whom he has called to do His work is: Be Encouraged! It is not by might or power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. When God calls us, He always gives His Spirit to empower!
As a minister of the Gospel who often feels so powerless and inadequate, I am heartened by the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:3-4: “And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.” It was not that Paul was without fear and feelings of inadequacy, but that his ministry was a demonstration of the power of God’s Spirit.
God continues His message to Zerubbabel in the following verse: “What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain; and he shall bring out the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” While Zerubbabel feels he has a whole ‘mountain’ of problems before him, God says that He will shatter the mountain into a level plain. And it will all be done, “Not by might, nor by power, but my spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” God will bring out the capstone, the top stone of the temple, amid cheers of “Grace, grace to it!” It will be obvious to everyone that it was all accomplished not by human might nor power, but by the Spirit of God and His grace.
If you today are facing a seemingly impossible task, an uncrossable river, a mountain you cannot tunnel through, consider this old song:
Got any rivers you think are impossible?
Got any mountains you cannot tunnel through?
God specializes in things thought impossible
And He can do what no other god can do.
Name and reflect on the thoughts and feelings today’s reading stirs in you. Take a few moments to talk with God about them.