Bible Society of South Africa
Louise Gevers

The Holy Spirit – Day 11

The Substantial Spirit

Bible text(s)

7But to the people of Judah I will show love. I, the LORD their God, will save them, but I will not do it by war — with swords or bows and arrows or with horses and horsemen.”

God's Promise to Zerubbabel

6The angel told me to give Zerubbabel this message from the LORD: “You will succeed, not by military might or by your own strength, but by my spirit. 7Obstacles as great as mountains will disappear before you. You will rebuild the Temple, and as you put the last stone in place, the people will shout, ‘Beautiful, beautiful!’ ”

Zechariah 4:6-7GNBOpen in Bible reader

Since the beginning of time, man has been impressed with power and has tried to harness it to achieve success in his life. This is seen in his incessant quest for control, fame and material possessions. We constantly look for something, or someone, greater or stronger than ourselves that will make it work for us, but so often we make the wrong choice. If we have been paying attention to the Scriptures that we have examined so far, in them we will have noticed that man’s power has not necessarily enabled him to achieve his goals. Goliath did not win the victory for the Philistines. Jezebel never caught Elijah. In fact, man never has the last word if his priorities are opposite to those of God: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight” (1 Corinthians 3:19).

In the text today we see God’s way set out in His message to Zerubbabel through Zechariah and in His word to Hosea before it. His comforting and encouraging words contain a double blessing as He promises to accomplish substantial things for Zerubbabel by His Spirit. His presence will dispel the problems that appear before him as a mighty mountain, and he will experience the joy of completing the work. He gives Zechariah a vision of a gold lampstand that burns continually and is fed by an unlimited reservoir of oil: the symbol of the continuous outpouring of His Spirit, given without measure, to equip them to achieve their task. If you have ever had a mammoth task to accomplish when you were already feeling exhausted and discouraged and there were relatively few people to help, you will appreciate the value of this promise.

Zerubbabel had the Holy Spirit to enable him to oversee the exiles who had returned from Babylon to rebuild the temple and with it their nation. Because they were few in number, tired from being harassed by their enemies and discouraged by how much they had to do, they felt weak and poor and not up to the task. Let us be encouraged that God never depends on human strength; in fact, His “power is made perfect in weakness …” (2 Corinthians 12:9). His Spirit invigorates the poor, the weak, the humble and the remnant.

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