NOT BY MIGHT NOR POWER
“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
The Temple in Jerusalem, what we now call the 1st Temple, was planned by David and later built under the direction of his son, Solomon. By all accounts it was, in all ways, an amazing place. It was amazing, but it wasn’t permanent. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. During that invasion, the city walls were torn down, the temple was burned, and most of the city was left in rubble. 70 years later a man named Zerubbabel was given permission to lead a party of Israelites from Babylon back to Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the temple.
Now that sounds great. However, we must remember that the first temple had been built using materials that had been gathered from kings and kingdoms all around Israel. What greeted Zerubbabel was not great timbers from Lebenon, huge cut stones, and mounds of gold and jewels. What he found was a pile of burned out rubble – basically a pile of trash. How in the world does one restore a majestic and glorious temple when all they have to work with is a jumble of broken rocks? Zechariah, a prophet of God, had the answer. “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” In other words, God said: “Zerubbabel, you can’t restore this temple; at least not using your strength or your wisdom. But I can do it and I will to it. It isn’t going to happen according to your plan, but it will happen by mine. By my Spirit I will build this temple.”
I think there is an analogy in this that we must not miss. The Word says that WE are the temple of the Holy Spirit. But you know, when Christ comes into our lives He finds pretty much what Zerubbabel found – rubble and debris and trash. How can such a mess become a fit place for God’s Spirit to dwell!? We might think that what it takes is a lot of effort – fixing what’s broken and putting everything back into place. But, when we try that, all we end up with is a little prettier trash pile.
Friends, the word to us is the same as the word to Zerubabbel. It isn’t our effort or our desire that gets it done. It is a work that only the Spirit of God can do. Give Him your broken heart; give Him your shattered hopes; give him your pain and discouragement and He will make them beautiful again. Do you know that about 400 years later Jesus Himself stood and taught in the temple that Zerubbabel built? He will take His place in your life and teach you too.
Pastor Keith Andrews