Zechariah 4:6 - Mans Flicker or Gods Flame?
Zechariah 4:6: Mans Flicker or Gods Flame?
Zechariah 4:6 (NIV) Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,
says the Lord Almighty.
This fifth vision teaches dependence on Gods Spirit, the
resource who enables us to live holy lives while we await the Promised
Ones appearance. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
The verse remains one of the most challenging, and encouraging,
in Scripture. We rely not on our own strength or ability, but on
the Spirit of God. [Victor Bible Readers Companion]
The prophet reiterates a fundamental spiritual truth: we do not
serve God in our own strength nor by our own righteousness, but in the
power of the Holy Spirit (4:6). [Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry
and Richard Blackaby re Zec. 1:3]
Mans weakness is no obstacle; because God's might will
perfect strength out of weakness. "Might" and "power" express human
strength of every, description, or "might" is the strength of many
combined. (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
What a tremendous truth: God's great power is at work on our
behalf"the same power that created the universe and raised Jesus from the
dead. Here are some things to remember: (1) God is on your side, ready
to help you meet each and every obstacle. (2) God's power is never
stagnant or out of commission"it is always actively working on your
behalf. (3) God is always fighting against the forces of evil on your
behalf"no human strength or spiritual power from the evil world (not even
Satan himself) can deter or change God's power at work on your
When you truly grasp this truth, you begin to understand the
strength that you have. The power that set the galaxies spinning, that
holds the earth in place, that calmed the seas, that turned water into
wine"that power is in your life. Why would we go through life trying to do
things in our own strength? And yet, so many of us fall into that very
temptation. Be different. Thank God for his power at work in your life and
on your behalf. Rely on him instead of yourself. [The One Year
Bible for New Believers re Eph.1:19, 20]
LESSONS FROM MOSES
Moses' list of accomplishments runs long. His rsum is
prestigious. Yet when Moses met God face-to-face, he was full of insecurity,
replete with excuses. God called Moses to lead the nation of Israel out
of captivity and into a brand-new life, but Moses was slow to
embrace the call. He was afraid he didn't measure up to the task. Among
his excuses was the limitation of his own skill set: "O Lord, I'm
not very good with words. I never have been, and I'm not now, even
though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get
tangled" (Exodus 4:10). He even went so far as to plead, "Lord, please!
Send anyone else" (Exodus 4:13).
God met each of Moses' excuses with reassurance, not in who
Moses was, but in who God is. Moses' abilities were never the issue;
God had planned to work through Moses all along.
Since Moses is credited with the authorship of the beginnings
of Scripture, he didn't have the advantage of reading back through
the stories and the teachings of the faith. Centuries later,
however, one of his descendants, the prophet Zechariah, captured the
essence of Moses' life. It was not by Moses' strength but by God's
spirit that the people were led out of Egypt.
God does not call all of us to national leadership, but he
does call each of us to something. We can respond with excuses. We
can remind him of our frailties. But it's his Spirit in our lives
who wins the victory. Our confidence belongs in him alone.
Moses, son of Amram and Jochebed and brother of Aaron and
Miriam, was the national leader of the Israelites. His story is told in
the books of Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. [The One Year Bible
Live Verse Devotional]
PRAYER AND MORE PRAYER
In 1999, I preached in Addis Ababa, the capital city of
Ethiopia, to the largest crowds I'd ever spoken to"approximately three
hundred thousand people in four days. I woke up the third day to
discover that my voice was gone. I was shattered. I cried to the Lord,
"Why have you allowed this to happen? I thought you called me to this
work. You've given me a race to finish, and now I can't even run!"
I'll never forget what I heard in my heart that day. God's Spirit
seemed to say, In my Kingdom, this is how you run as a champion. Not by
your abilities. Not by your oratory skills. Not by your power. You
must run the race by my power. I broke down and asked God to forgive
That afternoon, even though I barely squeaked out my message,
thousands came to Christ. What a lesson! God's power doesn't come through
our efforts, abilities, or skills. It comes only through prayer. The
men and women God uses are those who have learned to build their
lives and ministries on the power of prayer. God used Charles Spurgeon
because there were men praying under his pulpit"literally. D. L.
Moody's ministry was influenced by a prayer meeting at a YMCA. George
Whitefield was seen returning from the fields after having prayed all
night. Zechariah, the prophet of God, heard the Lord speaking and
wrote, "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit." It is God's
Spirit that releases God's power. And God's Spirit descends when God's
people pray. There's much talk about God's power today. But his
greatest power is released only to the heart that has learned to tarry in
his presence. As the old saying goes, "Much prayer, much power.
Little prayer, little power." Which do you have?
Sammy Tippit is an international evangelist, author, and
early leader of the Jesus movement. He has preached to millions of
people in more than seventy countries and is the director of Sammy
Tippit Ministries. [The One Year Bible Live Verse Devotional]
PRAYER AND SURRENDER
I've been a "striver" all my life.
"How do you manage to accomplish so much?" people sometimes
I work hard, I tell them. I'm focused. I expect great results.
But sometimes the results we work for don't come. After
fourteen years of up-and-down marriage, I found the hoped-for results of
my efforts slipping away. I tried to communicate. I tried to be
silent. I tried to be more submissive"and then to be a more equal
partner. I tried counseling, prayer, research, worry. I wasn't perfect as
a wife or in my methods, but I did try everything I could think
By that I don't mean surrendering hope; I mean surrendering
the results to God. It is the one lesson that returns to me over and
over"and the one I tend most to forget.
"Quit striving," a good friend finally told me. "Pray, and
surrender the situation."
These are the hardest things for me to do"and they
certainly were back then. But I did, truly. Relinquishing my control
didn't keep my husband with me, but it did grant me the peace of
releasing the results to a God who has since blessed me abundantly.
Tosca M. Lee, former Mrs. Nebraska in 1996 and first
runner-up to Mrs. United States in 1998, is an author, an international
speaker, and a leadership consultant for The Gallup Organization. [The
One Year Bible Live Verse Devotional re v. 6]
PRAYER AND DIRECTION
Your greatest obstacle in fulfilling God's purposes in your
life is the skills you have acquired to perform well in your business
life. One of the great paradoxes in Scripture relates to our need to
depend on the Lord; yet at the same time, we're instructed to use the
talents and abilities God gives us to accomplish the work He gives us to
do. It has been one of the most difficult principles to live out.
How do we know that what we achieve is by the power of the Holy
Spirit in our life versus our own abilities, and is there a difference?
When we reach a level of excellence and performance in our fields, it
actually becomes an obstacle to seeing God's power manifest in our work.
What we naturally do well becomes the object of our trust. When this
happens, God retreats. You see, God allows us to develop skills, but
these must be continually yielded to God's Spirit. There will be times
when God will use these skills to accomplish His purposes. There will
be other times that God will not use any of our skills just to
ensure that we know it is by His power that we can do anything.
It is the oxymoron of all oxymorons for Christian
business-people. Learning not to act until God shows you to act is a sign of
maturity in God. "Do not lean on the natural skill which you have been
given. Let God manifest Himself in what you are doing," said a mentor
who has learned this balance of skill and walking with God. "You
must almost restrain from doing those things you know you are prone
to do and actually go against them."
I was learning this lesson recently when I was asked to
participate in a large event that would give great exposure and much needed
financial increase to my ministry. It made all the sense in the world to
participate. Then I prayed with a friend and asked the Lord His mind on it.
The Lord showed us this was not His plan for me. I declined the
Ask God to teach you what it means to walk according to the
power of the Holy Spirit in your business life. Develop a listening
ear to the small voice inside that wants to direct your efforts by
His Spirit. [Today God is First by Os Hillman]
PRAYER AND TRAINING
John Ortberg contends that if we want to grow toward a
healthier, more vibrant spiritual life, we must be well aware of the
limitations of willpower
To illustrate, he sketches a scene from the children's book
Frog and Toad Together, in which Frog bakes cookies. "We ought to
stop eating," the two say as they keep eating. They discuss their
need for willpower and ways to help it along by putting the cookies
elsewhere, but they don't stop eating.
Frog finally dumps the cookies on the ground for the birds.
"Now we have no more cookies," says Toad. Frog replies that now they
have lots and lots of willpower, but Toad counters that he is going
home to bake a cake.
If not through willpower, how should we engage in what some
people call "spiritual transformation"? Ortberg suggests that there's a
big difference between trying and training. He quotes Paul's advice
to Timothy to train himself in godliness. Paul also wrote to the
church at Corinth, "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict
training (1 Corinthians 9:25, NIV, emphasis added).
Rich resources on spiritual formation abound. Are we ready to
approach spiritual training as Paul urged, with the intensity of an
Ortberg emphasizes that this is not a guilt-inducing,
burdensome challenge, but a golden opportunity to get beyond willpower and
invite the Holy Spirit to deepen and strengthen us. In Ortberg's
vulnerable, highly readable prose, he makes spiritual disciplines come
alive, and it's instructive that he starts with celebration before
exploring prayer, confession, following the Spirit, and studying the
The spiritual disciplines and tools used will differ from
person to person and season to season, but training in godliness makes
continuous growth possible.
Lord Jesus, I've found it true that my willpower takes me
only so far. Your Word tells me that I need to rely on your strength
and determination. Here I am. Cleanse and empower me now to live in
your joy and grace. [The One Year Book of Encouragement by Harold
PRAYER AND MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SPIRIT
God called Zerubbabel to do an important job, namely, finish
rebuilding the Jerusalem temple. A group of Israelites had been released
from captivity to return home to accomplish the monumental task. But
when they ran into some opposition, they abandoned the project. For
fifteen years the work came to a standstill.
Do you ever wonder how people serving the living God could
become so discouraged or distracted that they would throw in the towel
and walk away? In most cases, it seems to make little sense. Sure,
there are pressures. But anybody with responsibility is going to face
I believe there is a common denominator. Many of Gods
servants dont do Gods work in Gods way. Consequently, they are
doomed to failure from the outset.
God knew that Zerubbabel and his team, like their
predecessors, would face opposition. To prepare them for what lay ahead, He
encouraged them through the prophet Zechariah: This is the word of the
LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My
Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before
Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone
with shouts of Grace, grace to it! (Zech. 4:6, 7).
This was Gods way of saying to Zerubbabel, The work can
be completed. There are no immovable obstacles, when you do things
My way and by My Spirit. And when its finished, there will be a
There are two ways to approach Gods work. First, you can
do it in the flesh. Doing Gods work in the flesh boils down to
depending on influence, personality, gifts, natural resources, education,
and experience. Or second, you can carry it out under the direction
of and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thats Gods way.
When we do Gods work in Gods way, it will bear the
unmistakable mark of the Holy Spirit. There will be something inexplicable
about it. People will know that what has happened can never be
repeated simply by bringing the right components together. The whole is
divinely greater than the sum of the parts.
All of us who know the Lord"homemakers, bankers, mechanics,
assembly line workers, construction workers"are involved in Gods
work. We are all a part of what He is doing. And we all need to do
Gods work in Gods way. [Life Principles SB By Charles Stanley re
vv. 6, 7]
PRAYER AND DEPENDENCE
We will not succeed by sheer effort, but by the strength of
the Holy Spirit. God's power is made perfect in our weakness (2
Corinthians 12:9). He wants us to rely solely on the power he provides, the
same power by which he raised Jesus Christ from the dead. That
death-defying power is available daily. God wants to give us lives full of
energy and momentum as we plug into his power source.
When we face an uphill battle, we must yield our hearts and
minds to the sustaining grace of a loving God. And at those moments
when his power seems to elude us and his grace seems far away, we
seize the opportunity to practice patience and cling to the promises
in his Word. The psalmist cries out to God, "I lie in the dust;
revive me by your word" (Psalm 119:25 NLT). He doesn't pretend to lead
a self-sufficient life. He completely surrenders and depends on
When we run to God, he gives the power of his Holy Spirit so
we may accomplish his will. [The Daniel Plan 365-Day Devotional]
I am the Creator of heaven and earth: Lord of all that is and
all that will ever be. Although I am unimaginably vast, I choose to
dwell within you, permeating you with My Presence. Only in the spirit
realm could Someone so infinitely great live within someone so very
small. Be awed by the Power and the Glory of My Spirit within you!
Though the Holy Spirit is infinite, He deigns to be your
Helper. He is always ready to offer assistance; all you need to do is
ask. When the path before you looks easy and straightforward, you may
be tempted to go it alone instead of relying on Me. This is when
you are in the greatest danger of stumbling. Ask My Spirit to help
you as you go each step of the way. Never neglect this glorious
Source of strength within you. (John 14:16, 17; 16:7; Zec. 4:6) [Jesus
Calling by Sarah Young]
As activity increases, and men become successful in doing any
work for God, there is danger of trusting to human plans and methods.
There is a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith. Like
the disciples, we are in danger of losing sight of our dependence on
God, and seeking to make a saviour of our activity. We need to look
constantly to Jesus, realizing that it is His power which does the work.
LINKS WORTH CHECKING OUT
Most Important Decision in Life:
Seeking God Made Real: http://vimeo.com/31489782
Prayer Made Real: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc8VdMV26VE
LINKS FOR BIBLE STUDIES AND SEMINARS
Restoring The Power by John Bradshaw:
Glow Tract Video Bible Studies: http://www.bibleresearch.info/