Then the angel who had been talking with me returned and woke me, as though I had been asleep. “What do you see now?” he asked. I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl of oil on top of it. Around the bowl are seven lamps, each having seven spouts with wicks. And I see two olive trees, one on each side of the bowl.” Then I asked the angel, “What are these, my lord? What do they mean?”
“Don’t you know?” the angel asked. “No, my lord,” I replied.
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!’”
Then another message came to me from the Lord: “Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me.”
Zerubbabel was given the responsibility of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 3:2, 8; Haggai 1:1; 2:23). While the prophets Haggai and Zechariah gave the moral and spiritual encouragement to resume work on the Temple, Zerubbabel saw that the task was carried out. As the work was being completed, the prophets encouraged Zerubbabel and told him of a time when spiritual apathy and foreign oppression would forever be abolished.
Many people believe that, in order to survive in this world, a person must be tough, strong, unbending, and harsh. But God says, “It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6; see also Hosea 1:7). The key words here are “by my Spirit.” It is only through God’s Spirit that anything of lasting value is accomplished. The returned exiles were indeed weak—harassed by their enemies, tired, discouraged, and poor. But in truth they had God on their side!
You also have God on your side. As you live for God, determine not to trust in your own strength or abilities. Instead, depend on God and work in the power of his Spirit!