20171104 Parashat 105 By My Spirit
Today’s Haftarah reading is from Zechariah. This particular passage is very well known, especially to those of the charismatic/Pentecostal persuasion.
This book is the second to the last of the Minor Prophets in the second (Prophets) division of the Hebrew Bible. Neither Jews nor Christians seriously challenged its canonicity. One reason for this is the fact that the New Testament quotes and alludes to Zechariah so often, about 41 times. The Gospel evangelists cited chapters 9—14 more frequently in their passion narratives than any other portion of the Old Testament. The Book of Revelation refers to the Book of Zechariah more frequently than to any other Old Testament book except Ezekiel. There are also few textual problems in the book; the text has come down to us well preserved.
Many of us don’t get excited about going to the mailbox to get the mail. (Former military members are the exception. I still like to go to the mail box.) But most people do one of two things with our mail; we throw it in the trash, or we put it with our checkbook. My kids enjoy going to the mailbox.
Although they don’t get a lot of mail they go with the anticipation of finding a letter or magazine with their name on it. Does anyone remember what it was like to be excited to find a letter in the mail addressed to us? Today we are recipients of such a letter.
The Bible tells us “All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for restoration, and for training in righteousness”, 2Ti 3:16 TLV This morning we are going to look at what should be a familiar passage of scripture to most of us (if you aren’t familiar with it, then after I introduce you to it I want you to get well acquainted with it.(write it down and memorize it).
This passage of scripture is a PERSONAL WORD. Originally it was a message for Zerubbabel (did anyone just figure out what verse of scripture I’m headed towards?). Because the Word of God is given to all of us and is beneficial for instruction or a well needed rebuke to help us live our lives for God, then this is a verse of scripture we can all personalize. Don’t think of this word of the Lord as an antiquated message for another time and place. This is a personal message for you and me today so put your name into it and listen to what the Lord has to say to each of us today.
Zechariah 4:6 ‘This is the word of Adonai to Zerubbabel (Tree of Life Messianic Congregation) saying: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Ruach!” says Adonai-Tzva’ot.
Zechariah 4:6 This is God’s Message to Zerubbabel: ’You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit,’ says God-of-the-Angel-Armies. (MsgB)
1. This is the Word of the Lord.
We are bombarded by announcements and messages today. In our electronic age images sounds and words flood our TVs, radios, computers, newspapers, magazines, billboards and more. It is becoming more and more difficult to find someplace where someone isn’t trying to get your attention.
How often do we give our attention to something that is here today and then gone tomorrow? Advertisers spent millions of dollars to communicate their message during the last Super Bowl Game; but just a few months later many of those multi-million dollar ads are obsolete. New messages have taken their place.
God’s word has not changed. GOD’S WORD ENDURES FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION! His message is timeless; the word of the Lord is not out dated or obsolete. God’s word continues to speak personally to us today!
1Pe 1:24-25 For, “All humanity is like grass, And all its glory like a wildflower. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, (25) But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was proclaimed as Good News to you.
God has no need to invent new ways of communicating His message to the hearts of men and women.
Whether the word is written or spoken, regardless of if the word is illustrated with pictures or drama, GOD COMMUNICATES HIS WORD IN THE SAME WAY, BY HIS SPIRIT!
1 Corinthians 2:11-13 For who among men knows the things of a man, except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the things of God except the Ruach Elohim. (12) Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God—so we might come to know the things freely given to us by God. (13) These things we also speak—not in words taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Ruach, explaining the spiritual to the spiritual.
God’s Word endures the test of time. His is a message of the Spirit. HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD SPOKEN TO YOU TODAY!
2. Stop trying to do it on your own.
The Lord says, Not by might nor by power, you can’t force these things¨.
Might and power refer to human strength of any kind. No amount of physical, mental or moral strength will accomplish anything of eternal value. Neither the combined strength of many nor the authority of any individual is of any value.
How often do we find ourselves trying to do things for ourselves, or looking to what others can do to help us? In every area of our lives, from family and friends, health and medical needs, education and work, to fun and entertainment, you name it; we try to handle problems on our own.
The Bible reminds us over and over to stop trying to do it on our own.
Psalms 33:16-19 No king is saved by his great army, no warrior is delivered by great strength. (17) A horse is a false hope for victory, nor can its great strength save. (18) Behold, the eyes of Adonai are on those who fear Him, waiting for His love, (19) to deliver their souls from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
Proverbs 3:5-7 5Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. 6Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. 7Don’t assume that you know it all. (MsgB)
3. By the Spirit of the Lord.
God wants to help us! He has given us His Spirit to empower and equip us for every good work. “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, declares the Lord Almighty”. Nothing will be impossible with God as our helper!
Yeshua is our perfect example. Everything Yeshua did was not by His own power or strength. Yeshua depended upon the Spirit of the Lord.
Luke 4:18-19 “The Ruach Adonai is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, (19) and to proclaim the year of Adonai’s favor.”
HOW DO WE DEPEND UPON THE SPIRIT? What must we do to ‘Let go and let God?’ What do you and I need to do individually and as a congregation to let the Spirit operate in and through our lives? What do we need to do in order to put Zechariah 4:6 into practice in our daily lives today?
1. SUBMIT TO THE SPIRIT THROUGH PRAYER.
As individuals and as a congregation, we must be committed to prayer. Prayer plugs us into the power and resources of the Spirit.
Prayer is the litmus test for our dependence upon the Spirit. Where prayer is absent or reduced, the confidence in human strength increases. We might say we can do nothing without God’s Spirit, but if we aren’t praying we are only fooling ourselves. Individuals or congregations who pray acknowledge their dependence upon God and His Spirit.
Isaiah 30:15 God, the Master, The Holy One of Israel, has this solemn counsel: “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me, The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.¨ (MsgB)
James 5:16-18 So confess your offenses to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. (17) Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain. And it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. (18) He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
2. SUBMIT TO THE SPIRIT THROUGH BIBLE STUDY.
God will speak to us through our time spent in prayer. The more we spend time with Him we will soon realize God is speaking to us throughout the day. (He has promised to never leave us didn’t He?)
How will we recognize God’s voice? How can we know God is leading and directing us, is it God or just me? God will always speak in agreement with His written Word.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes his mind! Does He speak and then not do it, or promise and not fulfill it?
Through the scriptures God speaks with a clear voice. Through the scriptures we will learn to recognize the voice of God leading and directing our every step.
John 15:4-7 Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. The branch cannot itself produce fruit, unless it abides on the vine. Likewise, you cannot produce fruit unless you abide in Me. (5) “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for apart from Me, you can do nothing. (6) If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and is dried up. Such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned. (7) “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.
3. SUBMIT TO THE SPIRIT WITH LIVING FAITH.
The Lord said, Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.¨ God did not say, Sit and do nothing and just watch me do it.¨
James 2:14-18 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can such faith save him? (15) If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, (16) and one of you says to them, “Go in shalom, keep warm and well fed, ” but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is that? (17) So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead by itself. (18) But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works.
What is living faith? It is faith tied to action. It is faith that is not sitting on the sofa with an x-box in your hand.
Living faith is putting your faith in motion. When the disciples were being trained by Yeshua, he didn’t tell them to sit in their local synagogue and do nothing but read Torah and recite their daily prayers. No! He sent them out in pairs to tell all who would listen the good news of the Kingdom of God. They went out preaching, teaching and laying on of hands with faith for healing.
Yeshua further defined our duties just minutes before He left the earth:
Matthew 28:18-20 And Yeshua came up to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, (20) teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
What’s the takeaway this morning? What we can accomplish by our own strength and abilities is limited. If we want to achieve great things for the Kingdom of God, it has to be through the power of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit.
And we don’t have to worry, because Yeshua said “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.