Zechariah 4

Zechariah 4

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A Vision of a Golden Lampstand

And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” 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. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”

Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.

“These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range through the whole earth.” Then I said to him, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?” And a second time I answered and said to him, “What are these two branches of the olive trees, which are beside the two golden pipes from which the golden oil is poured out?” He said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”

(ESV)


Zechariah 4 Commentary

by Hank Workman

Zechariah woke with a start.  Before him were lampstands and olive trees.  A strange pairing that in the end this vision would bring encouragement and instruction.

Lampstands were used in the temple, golden and heavy in weight.  They had 7 pipes running to the 7 bowls atop where the lights would shine.  On either side of these were 2 olive trees.

A tedious duty of the priest was to continually clean the lampstands, refill with oil, trim the wicks and so forth.  The vision showed these lamps to be self-filling from the flanking trees, which supplied the oil for the flames not to extinguish.

The message given was to encourage the leader Zerubbabel of the rebuilding of the temple.  Work had slowed down or stalled.  The reality of what he faced had pressed in.  He had grown discouraged.  Zechariah had a message and mission – bring these words to Zerubbabel to stay the course.  The calling God had on him would be accomplished:

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

Zechariah 4:6

Are you discouraged?  Do you look at something God has called of you and wonder how in the world it will ever be accomplished?  Do you question as to how things could possibly ever be fulfilled?

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

Zechariah 4:6

Sometimes the reality of our calling is so against the grain of anything that makes sense.  And yet God continues to press in upon us such dreams and aspirations.  And so we work with all our might and personal strength to see it come to pass.  We use every possible resource we can to see it happen.  What God said to Zerubbabel and what He speaks to us in such overwhelming discouraging thoughts is these things are only accomplished by His Spirit.  He is the necessary resource needed to accomplish the work that’s been laid before us.

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

Zechariah 4:6

As the olive trees flanking the lampstands supplied the oil for the flames to continually burn, we need our own reliance on the Holy Spirit to be continual!  We need to allow Him to supply what is needed each day, wisdom from Him to envelope our mind, and so much more to accomplish the mission.

Whatever God has called you to; wherever He has plopped you down for this period of time; whatever dreams He has placed within you – let the vision speak to your heart of how desperately you need the Holy Spirit each day to face what you do for it is Him in the end that will accomplish this!

For you will accomplish it “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

Stay the course!


Zechariah 4 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Verse 6 is the key to unlocking the truth of Zechariah 4.

So he answered me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of Hosts.

Zechariah 4:6 HCSB

Most interesting is the fact that the Lord does not answer the question which was asked. The question centered on the visual elements that were seen. “What are these, my Lord?” The answer (verse 6) centered on the purpose of such elements. Though God did reveal those elements later in the chapter, I don’t think His redirection was by accident.

How many times do we seek to understand the meaning of spiritual principles when God has already determined their purpose? People argue over how Jesus could be 100% God and 100% man. We debate whether or not God’s sovereignty or free will is more important to Salvation. We wonder how the Trinity can embody three (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit) in One.

In all aspects of Scripture, God gives us exactly what we need to know while encouraging us to believe by faith. The life of a Christian cannot be defined by figuring everything out before we believe. The imagery of the vision was important, but it was only important because it led to the greater truth God was communicating. If we stumble to believe because we can’t figure everything out, we really do not trust God.

So, what is meant by His answer, “Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit?”

“Might focuses on collective strength, the resources of a group or army. Power focuses on individual strength. God says, ‘not by the resources of many or one, but by My Spirit. It will not be by your cleverness, your ability, or your physical strength that the temple will be rebuilt, but by the Spirit of God.'”

David Guzik

We cannot put our confidence in the flesh. As a God’s church, we cannot fall into the trap of believing that we are strong because of our bank account or our attendance numbers. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that we are in good standing with God because we are respectable people or liked by all those around us. Likewise, we cannot become discouraged when we fail to live up to the standard God has called us to. Our victory and identity is found solely in Christ! How quickly we forget this!

Verse 6 is a universal truth taught by Scripture. Consider your own Salvation. We cannot save ourselves. Our victory over sin and our capability to love God and live a holy life will not be accomplished through our own strength or abilities, but only through God’s Spirit. Many times, we do not believe this (either consciously or ignorantly) and God leads us to a dead-end in order to break our reliance upon self and fully trust His strength in order to surrender our entire lives. Is that where you find yourself currently?

The symbolism is relevant. Jesus said apart from Him we can do nothing. How does this change your perspective of your current dead-end situation?

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