More than Human Power

MEMORY VERSE: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” —Zechariah 4:6


THE Prophet Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai, and they were both very much interested in the project of rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem which was destroyed when the Israelites were taken captive to Babylon. Zerubbabel was instrumental in getting the rebuilding started, but for some time the work lagged, and the people seemed to conclude that it never would be finished.

The Prophet Haggai was the one the Lord used in stirring up Zerubbabel and his associates to begin the work of rebuilding, and when the project ground to a halt, Zechariah was used by the Lord to rekindle interest in it. With this second effort the work was finished—Zerubbabel, who started the work, being the one who laid the final stones. In all this the Lord reminded the Israelites that, after all, if they would achieve success, it would be only as they worked in harmony with his will: “Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.”


Zechariah was shown a vision which the angel of the Lord explained to him represented “the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” (vs. 6) This message to Zerubbabel states one of the basic facts which should be recognized by all those who undertake to serve the Lord in any capacity. This was recognized by Paul who, in setting forth the essentials of an approved ministry of God, wrote that one of these essentials must be that the work be conducted, not by one’s own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.—II Cor. 6:6

Because God was supporting Zerubbabel in his work the question is asked, “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain, and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace, unto it.” This reminds us somewhat of what Jesus said concerning a faith that removes mountains. A mountain, or mountains, in both these references, symbolizes great obstacles which frequently stand in the way of what is undertaken by servants of the Lord.

But Zerubbabel is assured that the great “mountain” which might be standing in his way to prevent him from completing the work of rebuilding the temple would become as a great plain. In most instances when “mountains” stand in the way of the Lord’s people they are not removed by the Lord until his people make the start forward in whatever their undertaking might be. In other words, the Lord does not remove all the difficulty from the road ahead of time. He wants us to exercise the faith that he will do so when the proper time comes.

Verse 9 reads, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.” The real issue at stake here was the power and glory of the Lord. There would be no serious consequences if it was merely a possible failure of Zerubbabel; but the Lord had commissioned Zerubbabel, and assured him of his strength, the power of his Holy Spirit. A failure in this case would seem to mean that the Lord had failed Zerubbabel, and in the very nature of things this was something which the Lord would not allow to happen.

“For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel.” (vs. 10) For many in Israel the beginning of the work on the temple must have seemed quite insignificant. Apparently not much of a showing was made, and to the skeptical this was reason enough to lose interest in the project. Throughout the centuries since, many lukewarm believers have looked for great works as an evidence of the Lord’s blessing.

But those who in Zerubbabel’s day despised the day of small things were yet to see that temple completed by him. They would see him making his final inspection of the building with his plummet.


What prophets were used by God to stimulate interest in rebuilding the temple?

Who was the master workman?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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