WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 22, 2023
TOPIC: NOT BY MIGHT OR POWER
BY T. O. BANSO
“So he answered and 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. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!’” (Zechariah 4:6-7 New King James Version).
In Zechariah 4, the Prophet Zechariah had a vision of a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand, seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Around the bowl, he saw seven lamps, with seven pipes to them. He also saw two olive trees, one on each side of the bowl. Then, he asked the angel what those things he had seen were. The angel asked if he didn’t know what they were and he replied in the negative (verses 2-5). “So he answered and 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. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!’” (Zechariah 4:6-7 New King James Version).
The vision Zechariah had was about God’s temple, which Zerubabbel, who, under Cyrus king of Persia, had led the first and largest batch of Jews back from exile in Babylon, was building in Jerusalem. The foundation of the Temple had been laid on the ruins of the former temple destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. He had completed the foundation, but the project was stopped for about sixteen or seventeen years because of opposition from the enemies of Judah and Benjamin (Ezra 4).
However, following encouragement from the prophecy of Haggai and Zechariah, Zerubabbel and the other Jews resumed work on the project. Ezra 5:1-2 says, “Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them” (New King James Version).
Zechariah’s vision, as I said earlier, concerned this temple project which had been abandoned. God, speaking through the angel, told Zechariah to tell Zerubabbel that the project shall not be completed by human might or power but by His power. The Amplified Bible renders Zechariah 4:6-7 thus: “Then he said to me, ‘This [continuous supply of oil] is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel [prince of Judah], saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit [of whom the oil is a symbol],’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘What are you, O great mountain [of obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who will rebuild the temple] you will become a plain (insignificant)! And he will bring out the capstone [of the new temple] with loud shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’’” This word is relevant to Christians today. God’s work cannot be done in human might or power but in the power of God. Therefore, God’s children must focus on God and not their might, power, intelligence, or possessions.
Immediately after God’s words to Zechariah through the angel, he received another word for Zerubabbel concerning this temple project: “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:9-10 New King James Version).
1 Corinthians 14:3 says, “But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort” (New International Version). Encouraged by prophecy, Zerubabbel and the other Jews resumed work on the project and it was completed within four years despite the renewed opposition, which God worked to their advantage. The completion was not by might or power but by the Spirit of God.
Ezra 6:14 says, “So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia” (New King James Version).
Has God given you an assignment or have you received a vision from Him? You are not going to accomplish it with your wisdom, strength, power, money in your bank account, or human connections. You will accomplish it by the Spirit of God. Therefore, you must focus on God; you must depend on Him. If you do, no opposition or enemy can stop you from accomplishing it. The road may be rough but you will get to your destination.
You must do the work of God with God’s power, not depending on human might or power. Let God work through you; don’t do His work without reliance on Him. Paul said he could do all things through God who strengthened him (Philippians 4:13). He depended on God and His grace. He said, “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10 New King James Version).
You must depend on God. Get rid of things that can make you have confidence in yourself rather than in the Holy Spirit. Paul said, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law” (Philippians 3:3-6 New King James Version).
He continued in verses 7-11, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (verses 7-11 New King James Version).
Human might or power cannot do the work of God; it must be by the Spirit of God. Do not trust in horses or chariots but remember the name of the Lord (Psalm 20:7). Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). God does not delight in the strength of the horse nor takes pleasure in the legs of a man; the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him and hope in His mercy (Psalm 147:10-11).
You must depend on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is superior to human might or power. He will do what human might or power cannot do and make a long-lasting and eternal impact. Jonathan said in the latter part of 1 Samuel 14:6 that nothing hinders God from saving by many or few. It is not by power or by might.
David attributed his military prowess to God. He said God taught his hands to make war so that his arms could bend a bow of bronze (2 Samuel 22:35; Psalm 18:34). He also said God trained his hands for war and his fingers for battle (Psalm 144:1). So his military exploits were not by his might or power. His source was God. How could he have killed Goliath, the Philistine champion, without God?
Knowing that victory over Goliath would not come by his might or power, David said to Goliath, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:46-47 New King James Version). God gave him victory just as he said.
It is not by might or power. “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength” (Psalm 33:16-17 New King James Version). As the King of Israel, Ahab, said in 1 Kings 20:11, one who puts on his armour should not boast like one who takes it off. Those were the words he sent to Ben-handad, king of Syria who was threatening to come and destroy Samaria.
The King of Israel’s statement means that the person who puts on his armour is preparing to go to war and is not sure of the outcome. Therefore, he should not boast like the person taking off his armour – he has come back victorious. Proverbs 21:31 says the horses are prepared for battle but the victory belongs to the Lord. Victory is not by power or might. Solomon said, “I returned and saw under the sun that —the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11 New King James Version). God changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding (Daniel 2:21). It is not by might or power.
In the pursuit of your destiny, career, or ministry, depend on the Spirit of God. Don’t promote your wisdom, intelligence, strength, human connections, etc. above the Holy Spirit. It is not by might or power but by the Holy Spirit. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:1-2 New King James Version).
It is not by might or power but by the Holy Spirit. Depend on God; have faith in Him. “I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him” (Psalm 62:5 Good News Translation).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me for depending on my might and power and not on Your Spirit. Holy Spirit, I shall no longer put my confidence in anything human but in You. Holy Spirit, I depend on You; help me to depend on You more and more.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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