In Zechariah 4, three different things are mentioned: might, power, and the Spirit. The Lord says, “Not by might, nor by power.” Instead things will be accomplished by the Spirit. This verse is not talking about the might and power of God, but rather, the verse references might and power of people.
In this verse, the Lord is telling the people that things are not going to happen by physical force. Things are also not going to happen by the power of the people. Instead, the Spirit will move. This is how things will be brought to completion. The Spirit of God, as He moves, moves with both might and power. This is very different than anything from man.
Remember friends, that we do not accomplish anything by our own might and power. The Spirit of God reminds, strengthens, teaches, and encourages. In our weakness, He is our strength. As we humbly recognize our need for God, as we allow Him to freely move within us, great things happen. Jesus promised that we would do greater things (John 14:12). How? Jesus Christ ascended so that the Spirit of God could be poured out upon us. But it doesn’t end there. We cannot simply receive the Spirit; we need to continue to accept the Spirit—to allow Him to move and direct. Live by His Spirit.
“Then 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 of hosts.” – Zechariah 4:6 [ESV]
People many times say that God is hiding from them, that they cannot tell if He’s around. The truth is that God never moved—you did! Again and again, we read in the Bible of people who fall short, people who do not walk with God. A holy God cannot look sin in the face. Even so, God is gracious and merciful. Again and again, He forgives us. Each day we are offered the opportunity of a daily cleansing, a new day. It is through Jesus Christ alone that we are able to stand before the throne as white as snow.
In Zechariah 1, we read about a call to return to the Lord. Zechariah declares what the Lord says, “Return to me… and I will return to you.” It’s that simple. Don’t allow it to be complicated. Don’t allow people to put stumbling blocks between you and God. Don’t think His grace and mercy are for everyone but you. Return to Him and He will return to you.
Every day we have an opportunity to decide which road we will take. Every day we can move closer to Jesus or in the opposite direction. When we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). When we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Today, take time to reach out to Him. He’s already reaching out to you.
“Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.” – Zechariah 1:3 [ESV]
[The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-37]
Compassion – Deep awareness of the sufferings or misfortunes of another with a desire to relieve it.
Verse 37 – And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” [NASB]
Mercy – eleos (el’-eh-os) – pity, mercy, compassion, tender mercy, kindness
Same – homoiós (hom-oy’-oce) – In like manner, similarly, in the same way, equally
Psalm 86:15 – “But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” [NLT]
Compassion – Rachum – (rakh-oom’) – compassionate, full of compassion
Jesus expressed compassion to:
- Weary (Matthew 11)
- Tempted (Hebrews 2)
- Helpless (Mark 9)
- Sorrowful (Luke 7)
- Multitudes (Matthew 15)
Zechariah 7:9 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another.” [ESV]
Colossians 3:12 – “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” [HCSB]
“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” – Albert Schweitzer
Bible Study Questions:
1) Before the Parable was told, Jesus was tested by a lawyer. The lawyer answered correctly about the Law (v. 27). He knew what God’s Word said. Jesus said, “Do this, and you will live.” What was the “do this”?
2) The lawyer intended to justify himself and asked, “Who is my neighbor”? In the last verse of the passage, Jesus asks him who was his neighbor. Which fellow from the Parable was the neighbor? What did he do for the man?
3) What did the compassionate fellow do for the man that can remind us of the unfailing, unending compassion of our God? (See verse 35)
4) What do you think it means to be compassionate toward someone? Was there a time in your life when you did this to another? Was there a time when someone showed compassion to you?
5) Jesus showed compassion to all people, and these people each lived in various circumstances. How can we show compassion to the
- Weary –
- Tempted –
- Helpless –
- Sorrowful –
- Multitudes –
More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.
People are important. Every single person matters. Zechariah 7:9-10 tells us, “Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil” (MSG). These are simple commands to remember and act upon; however, our society screams, “Me, me, me.”
If you are not so interested in people, then you have forgotten the two commandments of Jesus: Love God, love others. It’s plain and clear. There’s no way to misinterpret. It is not complex or mysterious. Zechariah states, “You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.” Sometimes we get that mixed up.
Religion is very different than relationship. God wants a relationship with us and He wants us to be in relationships with others too. God is a communal. It is all about community. It is all about people. If people—all people—are not your interests, I pray today you may start changing your interests. There are a whole lot of people out there—and each one needs Love.
“God-of-the-Angel-Armies gave me this Message for them, for all the people and for the priests: ‘When you held days of fasting every fifth and seventh month all these seventy years, were you doing it for me? And when you held feasts, was that for me? Hardly. You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.’” Zechariah 7:4-6 [MSG]
I often get my dog Max soup bones. I cook them, allow them to cool, and then he has enjoyment that lasts for a long time. He has bones all over the house. We often have to collect them and put them back in his bin of toys. Sometimes he takes them and places them right in our pathway. The other night, I went to walk to the stairway so I could go downstairs and start my day. The problem was Max grabbed a bone after I had gone to bed and stuck it in the middle of my pathway. I walked right by the bone and the end of the bone cut my foot.
I would have seen the bone if I had turned on the lights, but I did not want to wake up my children. The problem is that things hide in the darkness. We cannot always see what is lingering about when it is dark. Sometimes we do things that we should not and we like to keep people in the dark. Darkness is usually linked with evil. But when there is darkness, there’s always some light—even if it is only a flicker of light.
I love Zechariah’s song. Consider this “morning light from heaven.” He noted that it would “break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness” (NLT). There are still so many sitting in the dark—so many who need to see the Light. Today, be a beacon of Light. Shine the Light. This world can be a dark, dark place; however, with each one of us shining Light, we are able to pour out the grace and mercy that God has poured out to us.
“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” – Luke 1:78-79 [NLT]
During the hot summer months, chocolate, gum, and lip balm do no fair too well. The heat does a good job to melt the items. Being a Hershey girl, I love chocolate. When you purchase chocolate at a store, by the time you carry it from the store to your car, the chocolate is already melting from the high temperatures. I always advise my kids to not open it, but instead to put it in the refrigerator so it can harden again. When the chocolate is eventually opened, it is interesting to see the new form of the chocolate.
Heat is often affiliated with changing the shapes of items so it’s no surprise to read about heat in the Bible. We read and the refiner’s fire and the furnace of affliction. We also read about taking a new form. When we accept Christ, we start to become a new creation.
There are times when we can feel the heat of the furnace of affliction. We are being pruned and built up. We are being challenged. We are being tested like gold. We find ourselves in these situations because we are called to be a holy people and little by little God gets us to where He created us to be as His child with a purpose. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4 NIV)
“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'” – Zechariah 13:9 [NLT]
I was reading Zechariah yesterday and when I came upon a verse, I noticed a word that jumped out. In Zechariah 8:13, the verse says to “fear not” or “do not be afraid” Then it continues with “but LET your hands be strong” [ESV, NASB, KJV, ASV]. Let my hands be strong? How can I let my hands be strong? I was reading from the NASB translation so I decided to look at other translations to see if there was a difference. God’s Word says, “let your hands work hard.” The NLT says “get on with rebuilding the Temple.” The Message translation says to “keep a firm grip on what I’m doing.”
At this time, they were rebuilding the Temple but they were facing some problems. God was telling them to stay focused and press forward with His work. He provides all we need to get His work accomplished. I love the Douay-Rheims translation which says “let your hands be strengthened.” We are weak alone, but if we allow God to work with us, we are strong. We are not to work alone; we cannot do it alone. The word “let” is used, because we need to openly accept the help from God. He loves us and does not force Himself upon us.
The Message says that we are to “keep a firm grip” on God’s work through the situation. We are to focus on God and what He can do instead of looking at what we can do alone. The people who were rebuilding the Temple were being told they couldn’t do it. They were facing hardships. They were having the devil whisper in their ears.
God says we are to focus on what He can do through us. We still need to press forward. We still need to be building whatever God called us to build; however, we need to focus on what He is doing with the building process. When things look like they won’t work, when people are telling you that they won’t work, we are not to get deterred from doing what God called us to do in life. We are to keep a strong grip on God’s Truth. Whatever is not God’s Truth is not truth at all. If there is something going on in your life and you are feeling deterred from doing what God has called you to do, “let your hands be strong.” God can do anything! Keep a firm grip on Him and His promises for your life.
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
– Philippians 4:13 [NLT]