Friday, November 1, 2013

....but by my Spirit

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 the 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."    Zachariah 4:1-6

It was a time of crisis for God's people.  The temple was being rebuilt and the people of God were in the process of rebuilding their lives.  God's prophet in this time was Zachariah through whom God spoke with his directions and instructions. 

Needless to say, in the busy times in which they were living, they were vulnerable and often seemed misguided.  That is always a danger when a nation is rebuilding.  In the language which we might find difficulty in understanding, an angel is discussing things with the prophet, Zachariah, and explaining to him the visions he has seen in his sleep.  The message God wanted them to know was revealed by the angel through Zachariah.  “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty."  God further let Zachariah know that Zerubbabel, who had laid the foundation for the temple, would also finish in building the temple.

All of that important rebuilding stuff is going on and it was important to God, but of greater importance was the rebuilding or restoration of his people.  Like Israel, we find ourselves in times of crisis, too.  Even when our nation was in its infancy and parameters were being established for the new citizens, there were some words spoken by Benjamin Franklin which demand mention here.  It was at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 when Mr. Franklin said:

"I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?"   After posing that question, Franklin suggested their every meeting should begin with heartfelt prayer for divine guidance. 

Now I bring you back to the words spoken through Zachariah concerning God's rebuilding of the nation of his children.  ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

Israel, in crisis, needed to learn, and we, in crisis, need to learn that truth.  It's not accomplished by man's power or his strength.  The real success of a nation is based on its willingness to be strengthened by the power of God's Spirit. 

While I pray for our country's leaders and for spiritual consideration to be given in their decisions, I must also recognize no matter how strong, how influential, how wealthy, and even how experienced our leaders are, they will lead us into failure if their leadership is void of God's Spirit.  That is a biblical principle based on his word, which makes it a matter of faith for us. 


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