Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. He asked me, ‘What do you see?’ I answered, ‘I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps, on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left. I asked teh angel who talked with me, ‘What are these, my lord?’ He answered, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ ‘No, my lord,’ I replied. So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. THen he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’ Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.’ - Zechariah 4:1-9

This passage was written by Zechariah one of the Minor Prophets. He was trying to encourage the deeply discouraged. He was trying to bring hope into a hopeless city. There once beautiful city, Jerusalem, was nothing- completely empty filled with rubble. He was in the middle of a period of rebuilding with the people around Him. Their temple had been flattened to the ground and the people had no hope in it being rebuilt. We start with Zechariah being awoken from his sleep to an angel “who talked to him.” This angel has visited him before and returned. Zechariah saw the physical being of what the angel was showing him (lamps, bowls, gold and trees) but did not understand what it meant. He asks the angel “what are these?” And the angel said “This is the word of the Lord. Not by might nor power, but by my Spirit. “ And through this the Lord made it clear that both work and might are physical human strengths. Work and might are both efforts that humans try to put into rebuilding this temple, but that is not what is going to rebuild, restore or save. It is by His Spirit that this city will be made new. God will be the one to save and rebuild. He will be the one to restore the city by His Spirit alone. His power is not determined on how many people are with him or if the people are the strongest of the strong or the weakest of the weak.

We go onto read “What are you mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God Bless it!’” This was God’s message to Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the one who laid the foundation of the temple. He was given the “go ahead” to rebuild this temple. The Lord says, “what are you mighty mountain?” All the difficulties, barriers or mountains that seem to be in the way are nothing to God. Everything that seems impossible to these people become level ground-like mole hills. This is meant to serve as encouragement to all of the people who are rebuilding this temple. They will not be able to force the rebuilding. It will be through trust. It will be through His spirit rather than their mightiest man. God by His own power will perfect the work.

That alone is good news! It is God by His own spirit that will perfect the work in our lives. It is easy to think that all of the pressure is on us. It is easy to think that we are the ones who have to plan out the rest of our lives and we have to plan it out now. What is my major going to be? What if I don’t want to be a teacher or a doctor or an engineer for the rest of my life? What if I fail this class? Where am I going to live next year? But that’s not ours alone. Just as the people of Jerusalem were hopeless when trying to build their temple, we too can find ourselves hopeless when we try to steer our life based on our own understanding. We start to believe that it is a matter of how strong we are and if we are strong enough then, we will succeed. But it “is not by might nor by power, but by His spirit.” We have the ability to invite the Lord into all of these questions, thoughts and fears. These questions that seem to have no answers, these thoughts that seem to take over our mind, these fears that keep on growing are nothing but mole hills to the Lord. He is the one to trust in when life gets scary. He is the one to bring all of these questions to. Why would we not want to bring Him into it? No matter how strong you are or how weak you think you are it is going to be by His Spirit that we find our perfect plan. Take the pressure off. There is no striving with the Lord. We don’t have to strive in anything to get the perfect major or the perfect husband or wife. By trusting alone in His word, we will start to come into alignment with his heart and his desires and that will be perfect.

Lord, I thank you that it is not by my might or by my works that you come. Lord, I thank you that it is by your spirit that you move. I pray that we no longer feel compelled to lean on our own understanding but trust in you with all of our heart. Lord I pray that all fears and all lies are replaced with your perfect peace and truth. I pray that as we go through out this week that we are no longer striving for your love, no longer do we believe that we earn your affection. Lord, that you love us. You have a plan for each and every one of us- and for that I thank you.

- Ashley Gibson