By Toni Ford
Zechariah, which is the next to last book in the Old Testament, was a young man whom God called to minister to the struggling Jewish remnant that were trying to rebuild their temple in the ruined city of Jerusalem. Zechariah learned from Haggai, an older prophet. The two of them served the Lord together for a short time, and where Haggai encouraged and nudged the Jewish remnant to begin with the rebuilding of the temple, Zechariah came behind Haggai and encouraged the people to finish their work.
Zechariah was unique in that God gave him eight night visions with an emphasis on calling the people to repent while at the same time assuring them that God was personally concerned for each of them. Although Zechariah’s message was meant to be for the Jewish people at that time, his message remains true for us today as believers. God also gave Zechariah a vision of the Messiah’s final return and the signs, of which we believers need to be aware of and looking for as our Yeshua’s return becomes closer each day.
The Book of Zechariah is full of wisdom and insight. One of my favorite chapters is Chapter four, in which we read about the fifth of Zechariah’s eight visions. In this particular vision, Zechariah sees a Menorah, which is a seven-branched candelabrum used in the Temple in Jerusalem. The light of the Menorah symbolizes an eternal flame, while the Menorah itself is a symbol of the nation of Israel and its mission to be “a light unto the nations.”
The Menorah is surrounded by two olive trees. Zechariah sees these things, but he has no idea of the meaning. In Verse 4, we read, “Then I asked the angel, “What are these my lord? What do they mean?” From here, the angel begins to clarify some things about Zechariah’s vision. It turns out that the vision is intended to be a source of encouragement to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah at that time. He was given the monumental task of proceeding with the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. The temple had been destroyed by Babylon, and the Jews had been in exile in Babylon for approximately 70 years. Now they are back in the land, and God is instructing them through the prophets to rebuild the temple.
Zechariah 4:6-7 says, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: ‘It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout; ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!”
It is at that point that we are reminded of two spiritual truths of which I am often drawn back to, and this verse is one I hold very dear to my heart.
“Not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” The word “force” is also “might” in other translations, which often refers to an army or used to describe something powerful or grand. The Lord is reminding Zerubbabel, just as He reminds us today, that it does not matter what degree, title, human strength or even superiority of resources he might have available – NOTHING will be able to accomplish what God wants accomplished. It is only by His Spirit! The Lord is reminding us to seek Him and rely on His Spirit rather than trying to manipulate and control our circumstances to go in the direction we want them to go and in our timing. This is also a great reminder for believers and non-believers that no one person or government will ever be able to stop the plans of our God! The Menorah in Zechariah’s vision represented the Word of God to Zerubbabel. It is the candlestick of God’s Word that provided guidance for Israel, and that is the same for us today. It is His Word that tells us God’s ultimate plan and how we are to prepare for His final return!
“Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him!” Although Zerubbabel most likely felt that the rebuilding of the Temple was like climbing a steep mountain, God was reassuring him that He was going before him and would address the mountain in front of Zerubbabel. God would address it so much that the mountain would become a level plain before Zerubbabel! There are no mountains too big for our Lord, and when He gives us a certain assignment, He goes before us in providing us guidance and strength for the obstacles in our path. When it was finished, the temple would have a final headstone placed on the top of it, and God promised Zerubbabel that he would be the one to place that final headstone on the Temple!
If we remain faithful and obedient to follow the Lord in the tasks He gives us, He promises to see us through all the way to that final headstone. We then will rejoice, just as the Jews did when they shouted, “May God bless it!”
If you would like continued prayer, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray for you!