We all face times of discouragement, times where we think the obstacles around us are insurmountable. The people and leaders of Judah felt that, too. Imagine the scene: for 70 years the people had lived in a foreign land under pagan rule. Their capitol city had been long ago destroyed. The temple of their God lay in ruins.
But then things begin to change. Pagan kings were moved to let the people begin to go back and rebuild. This all because of the plan and will of God. Yet, not everyone saw it as God’s work. Opposition began to arise from both without and within.
The two main leaders of the people, Zerubbabel the governor and Joshua the high priest, began to grow discouraged in the face of opposition. So God sent to them Zechariah the prophet. One of the messages that Zechariah delivered to Zerubbabel was:
“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” (4:6-7)
This is a lesson that God often has to remind us. We are meant to live and walk by faith, after all, not by sight. Yet, we often let what we see, what we can physically sense, overcome our faith.
The mountain was the opposition in its various forms, and God promised Zerubbabel that it would be overcome. But victory wouldn’t be through human strength, it wouldn’t come by the hands of men.
It would be the Spirit of God who would bring victory and completion of the task.
God is the strongest strong. Whatever the obstacles in our lives he can overcome. Our greatest enemy was death; God has turned death into a servant of his people to ushers us into the presence of Jesus. And God gives us his Spirit, in part, to remind us of this truth, comfort us in the face of death, and lead us away from fear.
God can do far greater than our limited minds can comprehend, and he often does it without using the strong and mighty things around us in order to remind us that he is bigger, greater, and more glorious. So trust his strength and trust his grace.
This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.