This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts – Zechariah 4:6

This past week, though it took an arduous, embarrassing, and contentious struggle, conservative constitutionalist Judge Brett Kavanagh was successfully added to the Supreme Court. It was seen as a victory for conservatives, a defeat for leftists and liberals. President Trump really does seem to be slowly but surely draining the Washington swamp of its political creatures. His political rallies are bigger and livelier than ever. He’s delivering on his campaign promises. The economy is booming. The Democratic party is moving further and further away from a potentially electable liberal center and closer and closer to an unelectable radical anti-American extremist agenda. All signs are pointing to a red, not blue wave in the midterm elections coming up. But what if everything conservative patriots want from their president and government comes true? What if this ship of a nation was righted politically? What if all our politically aimed prayers were answered? Is a political “Great Awakening” all we really need? I say “No.” We need something far greater, far deeper, far more all encompassing and all inclusive for what ails this Land. What we really need is revival!

Settling for political answers alone for our national and societal problems is to treat symptoms to the neglect of the deeper disease. Political solutions are only band aids. We suffer from spiritual heart disease. We need major surgery. We of this nation have lost sight of God. That is true even in what many are referring to as our “awakened” present days. We have allowed our hearts to be cluttered and corrupted with all kinds of devilishly dark and deceptive infectious sin diseases. What we have allowed to take root in our spiritual heart has metastasized and spread throughout our national body until it has affected our spiritual eyesight. We are blinded. We are confused. We have lost sight of who we are. Spiritually we are stumbling like a drunken bowery bum. We are in many ways, in the gutter. We have been reduced to calling good evil and evil good. We have lost our way. We are groping for answers, for substance, for meaning. But we are looking within when we should be looking up. All the political answers and solutions in the world can’t cure what ails us. Only a Heaven-sent revival can cure our corruptions.

What we need is revival. There was a time in Biblical history, when God’s people, though God had provided everything for them to live blissfully in a Land of Promise, disobeyed their Creator and Sustainer. They strayed from their God and allowed themselves to be distracted from their True Love. They gave in to the temptations of worldly alternatives to God and His truth. They allowed themselves to be seduced into spiritual adultery which led to all kinds of other perversions, even sacrificing their children on the altar of the evil pagan god Baal. America is not a New Israel. We are not a replacement for Israel. The Church isn’t either. But there are many parallels between our Nation and the national dilemma Israel and Judah faced.

We are a nation greatly influenced by God from its inception. We are a nation who used to sing about how God “shed His grace on thee.” We are a nation arguably conceived in the revival of the First Great Awakening of the early to mid-18th century. The American Revolution has numerous accounts of miraculous preservations of our troops and leaders. A tiny colonial conglomeration of people resisted the tyranny of what was at the time the greatest empire in the world. And by God’s grace, we won! In the beginning our leaders recognized that. They prayed fervently and honestly and genuinely when putting together the Declaration of Independence and Constitution and our government. It was a wonderful world impacting birth of a nation. When we later faced national discord and even civil war, there were national days of prayers and fasting. In earlier days sermons were printed in newspapers with relevant scriptural applications to natural catastrophe or other national issues. Can you see that happening today? No, not likely. In the past we sought the Lord in times of need. But we have lost our way. We have forgotten God. There is a large contingency in our nation that willfully wants us to forget God and is willing to redact our history to do so.

Presently we are experiencing somewhat of a reprieve to the downward trend of discarding God from out national consciousness. This past national election seems to have put the breaks on what previous contemporary administrations had allowed. Recent administrations actively pursued an agenda to meld us into a one world system of government. There had been a concerted effort to minimize the exceptionalism of the United States of America. We were blamed for all the ills of the world. No good effort went unpunished. Everything our nation did historically to help people was viewed as a colonial intrusion. That is what our schools and colleges have been encouraged to teach. We were being systematically stripped of our unique God-given blessings. We were being stripped of any signs of the Biblical “God” period. False gods like Allah were being given equal standing in our national identity to the One True God. Rainbow colors of God’s grace were coopted to shine on our capital and represent the very abominations His judgment sought to end!

Over the last fifty years our history books have been redacted to exclude God’s influence on us and include the influence of pagan false gods. A replica of the Palmyra pagan temple to Baal has been set up in New York City recently and is scheduled for a stop in Washington DC, our capitol! This is an arch associated with incredibly debauched pagan worship practices. Some see this as a simple display of an interesting artifact. But others see this as setting up a doorway to demonic influences. It’s more than that.

Did you know that the church of Satan in our nation is growing by leaps and bounds? For some it has become a statement of rebellion and resistance to the present administration. They are deceived. The Church of Satan approves of all the immoral practices our nation has recently accepted as “normal.” They’re a natural alternative fit and all too eager substitute to any Bible believing church that actually stands for and by the truth of God. One recent contemporary pastor stated the Church risks becoming the enemy of people by taking a stand against LGBT sin. Much of the Church has been reduced to keeping up with unholy trends! Much of the Church makes decisions based on how it affects attendance. How is that not different to politics run by demographics? It’s no different at all!

I don’t remember Jesus running His ministry by demographic studies or based on who He might offend or how many followers it would cost Him. No, when disciples left Him because His teachings were too challenging, He simply turned to those who remained and said, “Do you also want to go away?” Thankfully they were spiritually alive enough to respond, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the word of eternal life” (John 6:67-68).

Jesus said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). I seem to remember our Savior was willing to go to the CROSS rather than compromise the truth. The Church and our nation are not much like Jesus are they? We stand for nothing so we fall for anything. Thankfully, and because of a growing group of prayerful people in our land, we’ve been given a reprieve. There is much work to do my friends, patriots, my brothers and sisters. And the work is not merely political. We need a spiritual revival!

There is a relevant historical example for us to follow. Because of the sinful ways of Israel and Judah, God allowed them to be defeated and taken into captivity. God loves His people. And because of His love, He is willing to use firm tough love disciplinary tactics to get their attention and draw them back to Himself. God is willing to do whatever it takes to draw His people to Himself. It took seventy years of captivity to wake up God’s people. After that, never again would they indulge in idolatry.

But Israel would decline again. They would reject their promised Messiah. For the most part they still do to our day. But a time is coming when God will, “pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10). Israel will be revived. Paul said, “And all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). God is so gracious. God is so patient. Oh, what a day that will be! That’s God’s promise. It will happen. But until then, much suffering has come upon God’s people. How much suffering will we need to endure to wake up and return to the LORD?

Politically, I think some in our land are waking up. There is a “Walk Away” movement of those liberally predisposed patriots. They are walking away from a party that has walked away from this nation, its exceptionalism, its constitution, its history, who we are. There is a lot of corruption being exposed. People are awakening from being political pawns. They are beginning to question age old ways that have been nothing more than manipulative endeavors that profit an elite few. They are questioning politics packaged in deceiving propaganda. They are questioning “fake news.” But we cannot stop this awakening at mere political purposes. We need to get to the heart of the matter.

Thankfully, the present president is favorably disposed to the Christian block of voters who supported him in the 2016 election. He’s listening. Some say he’s accepted Jesus and has experienced his own spiritual awakening. Some have spoken prophetically about God’s hand on this man. Some look to his unexpected “miraculous” election as a sign of prophetic validity. Many are praying continually for him. God seems to be energizing and protecting him. Time will reveal the truth on the matter. He is bold as a lion. He is not a politician. He does not use diplomatic etiquette, but speaks as a common man. He rubs many the wrong way because of that. We need to remember we elected a president, not a pastor. But he is doing much right. Our nation is being blessed through him. Yes, there is much opposition. The swamp isn’t going away quietly. That’s because there’s some serious political surgery being done. Change, can be painful.

This president has demonstrated courage and fortitude in facilitating the move to ending the historically terrible abortion holocaust. That national sin alone is enough to bring the full wrath of God upon this nation. We thank God for His longsuffering. We should beg His mercy and grace to forgive this nation. We beseech You Oh God for the suffering of multiple millions of children this nation has torn from its mother’s wombs. It is a national disgrace. It is an incomparable historic genocide. It is a product of godless evolutionary thinking. It is an example of what that diabolical devil will do when people turn from God and open themselves up to his deceptions. We need more than a political solution to our problems, much more.

The book of Zechariah records visions of the prophet during the time of the people’s return from 70 years of captivity. Zechariah’s visions were a glimpse into the spiritual realm. His visions went beyond politics. Zechariah chapter four in particular provides us with instruction on how they were revived to accomplish the task at hand. This chapter is instructive in principle for us so that we can receive what we need, a revival from God.

The children of Israel had just returned from 70 years of Babylonian captivity (see Ezra and Nehemiah). They returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the Temple. But the city of Jerusalem had been totally wasted. It had been destroyed, leveled to the ground seventy years before. Indeed, when the people returned they were broken hearted to see their beloved capital in a “mountain” of rubble (4:7). The task of rebuilding seemed insurmountable. When Solomon built the first Temple he employed 150,000 men and 3,000 superintendents for the task. He had unlimited resources. Now there were only 50,000 total people, (men, women and children, young and old). They had little material resources. As Israel returned from their captivity, how could they hope to rebuild the City and the Temple to its former glory with such meager resources? Things looked bleak.

At the point of Zechariah chapter four, the people were coming to see the task as being insurmountable. And when opposition confronted them, it didn’t take much to cause them to want to give up. They must have thought, “Why fight, this job is too big to do anyway.” So, according to the contemporary prophet Haggai, the people had stopped and turned their attention to rebuilding their own homes.

Even Zerubbabel the governor was discouraged. The general consensus was that the task was too big. At one point they stopped working on the project for fourteen years. It was a very discouraging situation. The mound of rubble reached to the sky! It’s at this point that the LORD gives Zechariah this fifth vision found in Zechariah four.

 These people were discouraged, downcast and depressed. Much of what they had once taken pride in was torn down. Their memories were in the garbage. Their national pride was at an all- time low. They were out of breath nationally. And because their spiritual condition was so closely attached to their national condition, the air had gone out of their spiritual balloon. They were out of breath spiritually too. They needed a revival. And God planned on sending them one. This vision of Zechariah shows us that when God works, either to bring revival or to do any other work, He works by way of the Holy Spirit.

This vision can be divided into five steps. These five steps show us the way the work of God is done, and in particular, the steps to revival.

STEP ONE – THE AWAKENING – THE STIRRINGS OF REVIVAL

Zechariah 4:1 – “Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep.”

God often speaks through night visions, or dreams. He did so with Joseph of the Old Testament (Genesis 37), with Joseph of the New Testament (Matthew 1:18-21) and Peter (Acts 10) to name a few. The first step in the Spirit’s work of bringing revival is to awaken them or get their attention, to make their need of revival known. Revivals start as the Spirit stirs us from our spiritual lethargy.

God often starts a revival through leaders or a select few people. Zechariah, Zerubbabel (the governor) and Joshua (the high priest) needed to be made aware that they needed the Holy Spirit of God for the task to which they were called. In the same way, we need to wake up to our need of God and in this case particularly, the Holy Spirit in our lives to revive us. The Bible speaks clearly in its call for us to wake up:

  • Psalm 119:148 – “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.”
  • Romans 13:11-14 – “And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:34 – “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”

This awakening is a work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of God that awakens people to their need of God. It is the Holy Spirit who awakens a person in the process of being prepared to receive the work of the Spirit in revival. The Spirit awakens the world to their need of salvation (John 16:8-11). And the Spirit awakens believers to their need of revival (Ephesians 5:8-21). Zechariah 4:1 shows us where we need to begin. Begin by praying for the Spirit to awaken us to our spiritual need of revival.

STEP TWO – ASSESSMENT – SHOWING THE PRACTICAL NEED FOR REVIVAL

Zechariah 4:2a – And he said to me, “What do you see?”

The angel who awakened Zechariah directed Zechariah’s attention to the vision asking, “What do you see?” Zechariah was moved to assess the present situation before him. This made Zechariah both aware and alert to what God was trying to show him, the need to be revived. This was a very practical presentation of the need at hand. Yes, the Spirit awakens us to our need to be revived. But He then points us to practical perhaps logistical aspects involved with the revival. He points us to the spiritual problem that needs to be addressed in order for revival to take place. The Spirit points out the problem and the solution that revival will address.

The work of the Spirit doesn’t stop at the conversion of a person; indeed, it is only the beginning of His work. The Spirit leads the believer into all truth. Jesus taught, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13). The Spirit of God leads us into the truth and directs us to focus our attention where God wants it. The Holy Spirit is the Illuminator of truth (1 Corinthians 2:9-14). He opens up the truth of God’s word to the born-again Spirit filled seeker. Once we have been awakened or alerted by the Spirit to assess our spiritual predicament, He points us to pay attention to God’s revelation, to what God aims to do.

STEP THREE – THE AIM OF GOD’S VISION OF REVIVAL

Zechariah 4:2-3 – “And he said to me, “What do you see?” So I said, “I am looking, and there is 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.3 “Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.”  

What did this vision mean? The golden lampstand was a menorah. A single menorah was a part of the Tabernacle furniture. Later in the Temple, Solomon had ten of these candlesticks made and placed in the Temple. The candlestick was a symbol of the Nation and God’s desire that the Nation be a light to the world (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6). Israel rebelled against this calling of God.[1] This was typified on a smaller scale by the neglect of the Temple priests to keep the lamp perpetually lit. They were charged with keeping oil in the lamps and the lamps lit. But this became tedious and they neglected their charge. When you try to be God’s light by works or your own resources, it always becomes tedious.

When we rely on self, we always run out of steam. The problem God would address here and the message of His revival was that the work to be done must be done in the Spirit not fleshly human resources. In Zechariah’s vision there are two olive trees (which are the source of oil) on either side of the lamp and oil is flowing from the trees to the lamp apart from the priests. This vision uses oil as a type of the Holy Spirit according to the explanation that follows (4:6,12). Revivals are a work of the Holy Spirit, not something we work to bring about. Yes, we work in revival, but we work in power not merely of ourselves, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit fuels revival like oil to a lamp.

STEP FOUR – “ANSWERS” THAT EXPOSE PERSONAL NEED of REVIVAL

Zechariah 4:4-5 – “So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?”5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.”  

It’s interesting that the “answer” Zechariah gives is a question. The answer the angel gives is also a question. The only answers of substance in the entire chapter come from God through the angel. Zechariah’s “answers,” expose his neediness. We need to come with a heart surrendered and willing to hear His answers. Our attitude for God to work revival should be: BE HONEST ENOUGH TO ASK, INTERESTED ENOUGH TO INQUIRE.

Revivals come to those who are honest enough to realize they need one and interested enough to ask for one in prayer. We need to humble ourselves before God and seek His answers (e.g. 1 Peter 5:5-7). What does Zechariah’s “answers” reveal to us? They reveal, man’s extremities are God’s opportunities. God exposes our weaknesses and brings us to the end of ourselves, the extremities, so that we will see that we are inadequate in ourselves. Once we learn this lesson God takes the opportunity to show us and incredibly gracious and powerful provision in His Spirit, revival. If you’re feeling inadequate, confused, spent, lost, in a dead end, exhausted, you’re in a perfect position to receive revival from the Holy Spirit.

STEP FIVE – THE ANSWER FROM GOD THAT BRINGS REVIVAL

Zechariah 4:6 – “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.”

Now that Zechariah has been awakened and made alert, he is ready to receive, “The word of the LORD” (4: 6a, 8). These final verses bring together all the imagery and its purpose. The entire message of this revival of Gods’ people and all revivals is that the work of revival is done by the power of the Holy Spirit not our power. In revival the Holy Spirit takes us beyond ourselves. In revival the Holy Spirit does what we in our own strength could never do. The reason we need revival is because revival takes us beyond politics. Revival addresses the internal heart issues that have led to political types of problems. Politics deals with symptoms. Revival deals with the root disease.

When we dissect this verse, we see that the phrase, “’Not by might,” literally means not by an arrayed army or your own personal resources. The phrase, “nor by power,” literally means not by self-resolve or self-determination. Therefore, we cannot go about the reviving work of God by mustering our own forces whether they are from without or within us. The way the work of God is done is, “by My Spirit’ says the LORD of hosts.” (4:6b).

It is impossible to do God’s work, God’s way, apart from God’s Spirit. It is impossible for revival to occur apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. King David knew that the anointing of the Spirit of God was essential for service. The Holy Spirit inspired him to write, “Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” (Psalm 51:11-12). In this psalm of David, he is not pleading for God over his salvation. He is pleading with God to not lose the anointing of the Spirit. David had sinned dreadfully by committing adultery with Bathsheba and orchestrating the premeditated murder of her husband Uriah (2 Samuel 11-12). Psalm 51 is a repentant prayer form David. You can see from his words that he knew he would not be able to continue in service to God without the anointing of God’s Holy Spirit.

The power for ministry and revival comes from the Spirit. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul was inspired to write along the same lines stating, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). That power of God is the power of the Holy Spirit (e.g. Acts 1:8 and its fulfillment in Acts). We need to depend on the Holy Spirit to revive us, to work in and through us.

LEVELING MOUNTAINS OF TROUBLE – THE RESULT OF REVIVAL

Zechariah 4:7a – “‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!’”  

Once God has taught how His work is to be done, He follows His teaching with a promise. He refers to the “great mountain” which is likely a reference to the mound of rubble that was once Jerusalem (4:7a). It must have been pretty discouraging to day after day, trip after trip, work on removing the rubble and at the end of the day you look at the mound and see unnoticeable progress. But God offers a word of encouragement here. God is saying that those seemingly insurmountable mountains will be laid flat like a “plain” if you attack them in the Spirit’s power. Revival brings the power of the Spirit to level the mountains of trouble that have been weighing heavy on the church of God. Spirit led and Spirit empowered revival helps us to endure, helps us to do what we could not do in our own strength.

There is a poem that conveys the power of God to move the mountains in our life and it is as follows:

Lord, I’ve never moved a mountain and I guess I never will. All the faith that I could muster wouldn’t move a small ant hill. Yet I’ll tell you, Lord, I’m grateful for the joy of knowing Thee, and for all the mountain moving down through life You’ve done for me.

When I needed some help, you lifted me from the depths of great despair. And when burdens, pain and sorrow have been more than I can bear, you have always been my courage to restore life’s troubled sea, and to move these little mountains that have looked so big to me.

Many times, when I’ve had problems and when bills I’ve had to pay, and the worries and the heartaches just kept mounting every day, Lord, I don’t know how you did it. Can’t explain the wheres or whys. All I know, I’ve seen these mountains turn to blessings in disguise.

No, I’ve never moved a mountain, for my faith is far too small. Yet, I thank you, Lord of Heaven, you have always heard my call. And as long as there are mountains in my life, I’ll have no fear, for the mountain-moving Jesus is my strength and always near. [2]

That is a poem about revival. That poem depicts the renewed awareness and confidence in the Lord necessary to move mountains in life. There’s a mountain of work to do to bring our nation back to where it belongs. A Spirit led revival will help us do the job.

How about you personally, is there a great mountain in your life? Is there some barrier or obstacle that you’ve worked on and no matter how hard you attack it or work on it, it just doesn’t seem to be moving? A ministry, marriage, or some other mission that seems blocked by an insurmountable obstacle? Why not give it a go in the power of the Spirit? This is what God is calling us to do.

“GRACE, GRACE TO IT!”- THE RESOURCE FOR REVIVAL

Zechariah 4:7b – “And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”

God says that the capstone, the final piece of the building that holds everything in place will indeed be brought forth. The work will be done! That’s God’s promise here. And when the work is about to be finished there will be rejoicing with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” In other words, their victory and final triumph will come by God’s grace. REVIVAL IS A GIFT OF GOD’S GRACE. GRACE IS GOD’S RESOURCE FOR REVIVAL. Grace is God’s undeserved intervention in our lives and it is by his continuous gracious provision that any of God’s work is ever accomplished through us.

Grace is not something that is only applied at the initiation of our salvation. Grace is something that describes how we relate to God throughout our lives. The apostle Paul recognized this when he was inspired to write, “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 15:10). That’s one of my favorite verse in the entire Bible. We are who we are and do what we do by God’s grace. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Always remember, “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

All that we have is a product of God’s grace. That includes revival. If we are to experience revival, we need only receive it in faith as a gift of God’s grace. The apostle Peter was also inspired by God to exhort his readers to grow in God’s grace and this understanding when he wrote, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18). We are born anew in the Spirit by God’s grace, and live on maturing and growing and being revived by the grace of God. Praise the Lord for that!

THE FINISHING TOUCH – REVIVED TO SEE GOD’S WORK THROUGH

Zechariah 4:8-9 – “Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:9 “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.”

God promises that Zerubbabel would finish the work on the Temple. That must have been a great comfort to Zerubbabel to know that in his lifetime, the Temple project would be completed. God always completes His work whether it is the Temple and city of Jerusalem, or it is His work in an individual person. God doesn’t leave His work undone. The Bible states this in many verses but below are just a few:

  • Psalm 138:8 – “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”
  • Philippians 1:6 – “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”

God says He will finish what He starts; you can count on Him to do so. Are you discouraged because something isn’t going as fast or making as much progress as you’d like? Maybe you’ve been praying for personal revival and it hasn’t come yet. Take heart, God will finish what He started both in you and through you.

Young William Wilberforce was discouraged one night in the early 1790s after another defeat in his 10-year battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and began to leaf through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter written by John Wesley shortly before his death. Wilberforce read it again: “Unless the divine power has raised you up… I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that (abominable practice of slavery), which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might.” [3]

REVIVE AND PERSEVERE IN THE VISION GOD GIVES YOU

 Zechariah 4:10 – “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.”

The LORD encourages Zerubbabel and all the people to not despise the day of “small things.” God advises them to not get caught up so much in what the work looks like now, but have a vision for what God’s completed work will be. Once we receive God’s vision for ministry and how He wants to use us, we should press on to its completion in the power of His Spirit. Sometimes we need to have our vision renewed or revived. We need to realize God promises to complete the work He has started in us and what He intends to do through us. Revival is coming to that realization.

Are you discouraged that something you have begun is not progressing according to the vision you had from God for the project? Don’t despise the days of small things. God isn’t finished yet. Think of the example of Pastor Chuck Smith. For the first seventeen years of his ministry he pastored churches of only a hand full of people; 25 to 50 people in size. He said he would have been satisfied with a church of 250 people. That was his “big” vision. But he set no limits on God and persevered in ministry and serving the Lord. He served joyfully no matter the size of the churches. He persevered in the Spirit. And God’s vision turned out to be far greater than his vision. He persevered in the leading of the Holy Spirit.

What if Pastor Chuck Smith had quit while the churches he pastored were relatively small in number? He almost did quit, until the LORD showed him these verses in Zechariah 4. Today, though Pastor Chuck has gone on to be with the Lord, the ministry of Calvary Chapel has continued to blossom and grow. Today there are nearly two thousand churches worldwide, radio stations, and thousands of people attending the Bible teaching Cavalry Chapel churches. All of this a work of the Holy Spirit in revival. No friend, don’t despise the days of small things, you don’t know what God has planned for you and the ministry he has called you to.

We need to mention that sometimes the church or work that God plans to do with a person is small in the eyes of that person. Sometimes people go into ministry with the notion or delusion of grandeur that they will pastor or lead a “great” or mega church. Such a motive and aim likely reveals a carnal motive that God will have to cleanse from that person if they are to be significantly used by Him. The right attitude is to realize that sometimes God uses a person to be a part of a larger work and sometimes He uses a person to be a part of a smaller work. But each work that God does, regardless of size, is important. Just think what would have happened if Stephen, upon seeing his accusers raise stones against him, had said, “Whoa! Wait a minute, those stones look heavy and sharp; let me rethink what I said. Maybe I was a bit harsh with you all. Maybe I should have been a bit more diplomatic.” If Stephen would have turned away from his single small point of ministry, perhaps the apostle Paul, (who was there while Stephen preached and was stoned) would never have heard the gospel and never have had the seed of God’s word planted in him.

Numerous great men have been saved to go on to impact the world on a large scale due to the faithfulness in small ministries of those called by God. D.L. Moody was greatly influenced by his Sunday School teacher when he was a young boy. What if that teacher had given up and quit teaching those young people? He would have missed out on being greatly used by God. Billy Graham was saved in a small country church. Think of what would have been lost if the evangelist preaching in that small, sparsely attended evangelistic meeting had decided to walk away and not share the Gospel. The Lord would likely have found another way to accomplish his mission. But the evangelist would have missed out on being greatly used by God. Do you catch my meaning? Don’t despise the days of small things. You never know what God might do. Whether a ministry is big or small is not the determining factor of the success of a minister or child of God. It is a person’s faithfulness to God’s call that determines their success before God (see 1 Corinthians 3:5-11).

Don’t despise the days of small things. Those “small” things may be God’s will for you. You don’t know how God is going to use you. Be faithful in service and your labor will not be in vain. Remember, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). When we do God’s work in God’s way, it’s never in vain.

John Wesley was used by God to bring revival to England. Many historians believe it was the work of God through Wesley that saved that nation. This work of God didn’t come easy. Read some excerpts from Wesley’s diary:

Sunday, A.M., May 5    Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore. Sunday, P.M., May 5     Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said, “Get out and stay out.” Sunday, A.M., May 12    Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either. Sunday, A.M., May 19    Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return. Sunday, P.M., May 19    Preached on street. Kicked off street. Sunday, A.M., May 26    Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service. Sunday, A.M., June 2    Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway. Sunday, P.M., June 2    Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me. [4]

What if Wesley would have given up the morning of June 2nd? Who would have blamed him? But you see, Wesley was proceeding in the power of the Spirit and he knew that what God had begun, He would finish. Don’t despise the days of little things, persevere in the Spirit and God will use you mightily.

REVIVAL – POWERED BY GOD

Zechariah 4:11-14 – “Then I answered and said to him, “What are these two olive trees—at the right of the lampstand and at its left?”12 And I further answered and said to him, “What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?”13 Then he answered me and said, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.”14 So he said, “These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.”

These two olive trees are most likely a reference to Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor. These two will be the channels through which God will empower the lamp to give its light. The light then is Israel and God’s two anointed leaders are Joshua and Zerubbabel. This encouraged the leaders to know that God’s anointing was upon them and it must have encouraged the people as well to know that their leaders had the hand of God upon them. These two, “stand beside the Lord of the whole earth” (4:14). The symbol is unmistakable; the empowerment of God is to be ongoing as the work of God is ongoing.

God works through people. We just need to show up. We just need to present ourselves to be used by Him (e.g. Romans 12:1-2). Just as the two olive branches “stand beside the Lord of the whole earth” to get their powerful anointing, in the New Testament we have a similar call of Jesus to abide in Him. The picture He gives is one of a Vine and branches (John 15:1-8). This imagery of Jesus points out that just as the branches get their sustenance from the vine and cannot grow or produce apart from it, apart from Him we can do nothing. Therefore, the picture becomes the believer abiding in Christ with one hand and connecting to the outlet, the church with his other hand and the Holy Spirit flowing through the believer to light up the world through the church.

THE SECRET TO REVIVAL AND GETTING GOD’S WORK DONE – AN OUTLET

For the Spirit to flow through me, I must abide in Christ. To abide in Christ simply means to trust in Him, live in Him, relate to Him, consult Him, and center my life in Him. Now I would like to take this a step further. The Holy Spirit is a Person, the third Person of the Trinity. If we likened the flow of power of the Holy Spirit to a current of electricity, we see an important point. If the power current of the Spirit is like electricity, then it needs an outlet to flow through us. If you don’t have an outlet, a work of God in process, a work of God to be done, then the Spirit won’t flow and the power will not be there.

When Jesus spoke to His disciples about the power of the Holy Spirit, He did so by saying that the power of the Spirit is given “to be” or “to” do something. Read what he said:

  • Acts 1:8 – “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The first thing the apostles did upon receiving the baptism with the Spirit was to preach the gospel to those in Jerusalem. The power of the Holy Spirit is not given to titillate or to become the topic of conversation over a new experience. The power of the Spirit is given by God to get His work done. That work may be at home, in your family, at work, with your co-workers, in marriages, in ministry, wherever God guides you. It may be a national purpose. But God does not give the Spirit’s power to do frivolous and cheap shows.

You may have laid a foundation for something the LORD called you to do and then, difficulties came, time passed, and perhaps you’ve come to think, “It’s not going to happen.” Take heart friend, be revived in your spirit, what God begins, He will finish. And all we need to do is abide in Him and rely on His power and the work of God will get done. That is true whether it is a relationship, a task, or a ministry venture in faith, or a revival. God wants to bless you by pouring out His Spirit upon you. He has promised us, ““Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). And again, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).

We need revival. Our nation needs revival. The Church needs revival. You need this power of the Spirit to do God’s work. I need this power to do God’s work. The people of God and the Church need God’s power to do God’s work. I close with the words of Pastor Chuck Smith who said:

“The Church is in desperate need today of a new fresh work of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, we have sought to substitute programs, and psychology, and many other gimmicks for the power of the Holy Spirit, but the Church is suffering as a result. And I am praying that God will give to us a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in each of our hearts and lives. A renewing of the life of the Spirit within the Church. Surely, we need it, and surely our community needs it desperately.” [5]

Our nation needs revival. Our churches need revival. We need revival. Are you involved in the work of God? How are you trying to go about it? Is the power of the Spirit working in and through you? Do you need a personal revival? Why not pray for God to revive you? Then ask Him to reveal the work He wants done. Pray for His Spirit to be poured upon you to do it. Then we will experience revival. Then the work of God will be done. Pray – God make me what I need to be, to do what you call me to do, for Your glory, until You return. Please revive me with Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

 

[1] Jesus in the New Testament temporarily transferred this purpose to the church (Matthew 5:14-16; Revelation 2-3). After the rapture of the church God will once again use Israel to be the light in the world (Romans 9-11).

 

[2] http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/m/mountain.htm

[3] Daily Bread, June 16, 1989 http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/p/perseverance.htm

[4] http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/p/perseverance.htm

[5] Pastor Chuck Smith, The Person of the Holy Spirit – Word for Today tape #3051.