Not By Force

Then he said to me, “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!’”
Zechariah 4:6-7 New Living Translation

Zerubbabel faced a number of challenges in rebuilding the temple. Whether it be external opposition from the neighbors, discouragement of the workers, a lack of supplies and resources, or the difficult terrain of the Temple Mount; all these obstacles would feel like mountains that stand in the way of completing the project. As Governor of the region, Zerubbabel would have had legal access to political power and force to address some of these obstacles but God made it clear that the rebuilding of His Temple was spiritual work and it would only be finished properly by the power of the Holy Spirit within the workers. God would make all the obstacles flat like a plain. It was then that the people would acknowledge the greatness of God in helping His people build the Temple. Human power would only produce human results and leave the people thinking that they had accomplished something on their own without the need of God. Anything built by human means would fall short of being a place where God would draw all people to Himself through the coming Messiah.

In our efforts to make disciples and build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, we face many obstacles. It is tempting at times to give in to the temptation to use human force and power to impose Kingdom values on people. When we resort to political and military power to accomplish the goals of the Kingdom of God, we create something that falls short of the Kingdom that God intends to build. In the same way God spoke to Zerubbabel in the past, He tells the followers of Jesus today that His work will only be accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit. Our call, as followers of Jesus, is to listen to the Holy Spirit and cooperate with Him. We can trust that He is at work behind the scenes, helping us in the work of Jesus’s Kingdom. Through the Holy Spirit, God is able to change the hearts of humanity and accomplish more than we are able to do through human effort.

Lord, help us to trust Your Holy Spirit to be at work addressing the obstacles in our lives. Help us to be faithful to live by the values of your Kingdom and not to resort to the human effort.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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