“By My Spirit” says the Lord

We recently finished a study of the book of Zechariah in our Sunday morning Bible class. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with this Old Testament book. Zechariah was a prophet to the children of Israel after the time of the Babylonian captivity. Because of their disobedience, God allowed the Babylonians to conquer his chosen people of Israel and carry them away as prisoners. After about 70 years in exile, they were allowed to return to the promised land, and God told them to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and its temple. They started, but then they stalled. Zechariah’s message was to encourage them to get busy again, especially with regard to the temple.

I tell you this to set the context in which these words were written to one of King David’s descendants, a fellow named Zerubbabel, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)

God was telling the people that even though he had tasked them with rebuilding the temple, it was not their might or power that would accomplish it. God’s spirit would empower them and enable them and work through them to do the task God had given.

The same is true for God’s people today. Those of us who have been led to faith in Jesus as our lord and savior are the new chosen people of God. And, he has given us the task of building his kingdom by sharing the message of what Jesus accomplished for all people through his life and death and resurrection (Matthew 29:18-20). That sounds like a huge task, and it is. But we have the same promise God spoke through Zechariah, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)

We are his instruments, but God is doing the work. That enables us to go about the daunting task before us with joy and confidence and certainty. I had this concept instilled in me as a child by parents who saw to it that I was instructed in God’s word. One passage that has shaped the way I try to live is Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Whatever it is you are doing, do it with all your heart, remembering that you are doing it for Jesus. And his spirit gives you the power and strength to do it.

Michael Mattil is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Denison. He can be reached at pastor@glcdenison.org.