Introduction - Zechariah 4:6

Dr. Steve Viars July 10, 1990 Zechariah 4:6

- tonight we're beginning a new series entitled "Favorite

Bible passages"

- let me mention some goals we have for this series

1) To suggest some favorite Bible verses.

- I realize that there are many folks here tonight who

- have studied the Word of God for many years

- memorized dozens of verses

- have a number of verses that readily come to

mind when you think of "favorite Bible verses"

- those verses have been a great comfort to you over

the years, and a great source of encouragement and


- but not everybody is like that

- some here have only been a Christian a short while

- if you asked them, "what are your favorite Bible

verses, they might not have any"

- when you think about it, if you've just recently

been saved, how would you have any?

- this series is going to highlight some of those so

that everyone who participates will have some

favorite Bible verses if they don't already (so

they can have a source of encouragement, strenth,

hope, etc.)

2) To gain a better understanding of some of our favorite

Bible verses.

- I wonder tonight if we asked various folks to share

some of their favorite verses, and then asked "Now,

what does that mean, and what does that mean...", I

wonder how many of us would say, "Ya know, I never

thought about it before"

- what did Jesus mean when he said in John 3:16, "For

God so loved the world, that he gave his only

begotten Son?. What does only begotten son mean?

- sometimes our increased understanding will come

through studying the verse grammatically

- thats true of our passage tonight

- at other times our understanding will be increased

through studying the context of the verses

- when you think of some of your favorite verses, can

you also think of what the verses around it say?

Often times we can't and that limits our


- hopefully some of those verses will take on new

meaning as we look at them in their context.

3) To be reminded of some of the important "old" truths.

Our favorite Bible verses are favorite for a reason.

They had some truth that was very meaningful to us. Its

good from time to time to be reminded of those truths.

- you realize that the Bible is not like old chewing


- Can you remember back to when you were child and

you'd chew a piece of gum all day, go to bed, put the

gum on the bedpost, wake up the next morning, pop it

in and off you'd go

- remember what that tasted like? There just wasn't

anything left. You chew it a while and then you throw

it away.

- God's truth isn't like that

- Jeremiah said - It is because of the Lord's mercies we

are not consumed...they are new every morning...great

is thy faithfulness

- there is a freshness to the Word of God, where it

doesn't matter how long you've known a verse,

being reminded of those truths is always


- perhaps thats why Peter said, at the end of his

life and ministry - "I will not be negligent to

put you always in remebrance of these things,

even though you know them"

- I didn't list this one, but of course our purpose in

studying any passage of Scripture is to look for ways

that we can be changing and growing, and that will be

part of this study as well

- one more thing I need to say about this series - If you

have a favorite verse that you'd like to nominate - feel

free to do so

- The verse that we're going to work on tonight is a favorite

for many, but I realize it may be an obscure one for you

- Zechariah 4:6 - read

I. Background Material

- whenever we study the Old Testament, it helps to know

what time period that particulat passage of Scripture

was written

- while I certainly don't think a person should become an

expert on Old Testament history, let me reccomend a

couple of dates that I think you ought to memorize so

you'll be able to think through where a passage fits

into the history of Israel

A. Key O.T. Dates

2165 B.C. - call of Abraham

1000 B.C. - David

931 B.C. - kingdom divided

722 B.C. - Israel (northern k-dom) falls to Assyria

586 B.C. - Judah (southern k-dom) falls to Babylon

538 B.C. - Zerubbabel leads group of Jews back

B. Who was Zerubbabel?

political leader who led a group of Jews back to

Jerusalem. Zech. 4 is addressed to him.

C. What was Zerubbabel doing in Jerusalem?

(what is the first thing the Jews would want to do?)

- rebuild the temple

D. What other prophet was active during this time?

- Haggai

E. What historical book can be read to fill in the

"historical gaps" for this period?

- Exra

- read Ezra 4:1-5, 17-24

- point of the verses is - here are individuals who

are in a terribly discouraging situation, and

they've been working

- heavy, physical labor

- trying to their best for the Lord

- now it looks like the whole project is going to be

shut down

- we all know what thats like

- you may be in a situation like that right now

- where you've been trying to grow

- you've been trying to apply Bible messages you've


- fighting against the world, the flesh, the devil is

difficult business

- God had a message for Zerubbabel and his people -

the message was "Not by might, nor by power, but by

my spirit, saith the Lord"

- question is - What does that mean?

II. The Meaning of the Phrase "Not By Might, Nor By Power,

But By My Spirit, Saith The Lord"

- this has been a favorite Bible verse for years

- it has been put to song

- but what does it mean?

A. possibilities

1. We will fail if we try to use our might and power

in a situation.

2. We ought to just "let go and let God" and stop

trying to influence a situation with our wisdom,

might, and power.

3. We ought to work as hard as we can using all of

our wisdom, strength, and power but rely on the

Holy Spirit as the source of that power.

- note - we're not asking which of these statements

you agree with - I'm asking which of these

statements is taught by Zechariah 4:6. (thats

Zech. 4:6 interpreted in light of the rest of the

Scripture, but the verse says what it says)

- you understand that your answer to that question is

very important

Hypothetical situation - A friend of yours is making a

decision about changing employment. He tells you that

he has been weighing the decision in his mind and he

even shows you a piece of paper on which he has been

writing the positive factors of his decision in one

column and the negative factors in another. How would

you take Zechariah 4:6-7 and influenece his decision


- to be consistent, your answers here would have to

match what you said about the three posibilities

1) You must stop trying to figure this situation out

on your own. Instead, you should just pray and

ask God to speak to you about this decision.

2) You will never come to the right decision until

you "let go and let God." Just ask Him to give

you peace about the decision.

3) You should consider weighing the situation in your

mind. However, make sure you are deciding the

negative and positive factors based on biblical

truth. But by all means, prayerfully continue

using all your strength and mental ability to make

that decision.

- remember again, the question isn't, with which one

of these statements do you agree, the question is:

which of these statements is most consistent with

Zech. 4:6

- that leads us to this question:

B. What was God saying when He said, "Not by might, nor

by power, but by my Spirit?"

Major Question - Was God prohibiting Zerubbabel's use

of his own might and power?

- in other words, was He saying, As long as you are

trying to do this using your own strength, you will


- or was He saying something different?

Some parallel passages will answer this question:

- I'm going to mention a couple of passages that have

the same construction as Zech. 4:6

- in other words, they are put together the same way

(we're still trying to answer the question, was

God prohibiting the use of Zerubbabel's strength?)

Lev. 22:6 - "...He will not eat of the Holy things

but he wash his hands with water."

- in Hebrew, that verse is set up exactly the same

- was God prohibiting the priest from eating of the

holy things?

- no, He was qualifying it

- that makes all the difference in the world

Gen. 32:27 - (Jacob and the angel) - "I will not let

you go except you bless me."

- question again - was Jacob saying that he would

never let the angel go? - No, he's qualifying the


- now, what does that have to do with Zechariah 4:6?

- the verse would best be translated - Not by might,

nor by power, except by my Spirit, saith the Lord

- God wasn't prohibiting the use the Zerubbabel's

strength and power, he was qualifying it

- Zerubbabel - you are a difficult situation

- it does look like the project is coming to a


- you are tired and discouraged

- but I'm going to tell you something that will both

rebuke you and encourage you at the same time

- its not by might, nor by power, except by my Spirit

saith the Lord

- you're not going to be able to handle this

situation, or any other situation, without my

divine help and intervention

- the degree to which you've been trying to get

this thing solved independant of me, to that

degree you've been sinning

- if you keep it up, you're going to lash out

at them

- if you keep it up, you're going to respond

in sinful anger

- if you keep it up, you're going to spoil the

witness Israel is supposed to be to other


- see--be sure you have the "but by me Spirit

part in place"

- and Zerubbabel - here's the other side

- if you're thinking about giving up

- if you're thinking about quitting

- if you're thinking about sitting around to work

this thing out without your involvement

- I don't work that way either

- part of my plan and program in this

situation and in most situations involves

and includes you exerting your might and


- so get up and dust yourself off--we've got work

to do

III. How Zech. 4:6 Should Affect Us

A. Encourages Us To Do Things That We Never Did Before

- many of us don't get things done for God because

we're not using the strength, might, wisdom, and

the opportunities He's given us

- while some of us wouldn't call it this - at times

we have an open door mentality to deciding what

we're going to attempt to do for the Lord

- I'll talk about what's right with that in a minute,

but its mostly wrong

- we end up excusing lack of activity on things like:

- I know I should be an Amos like Pastor spoke

about Sunday morning, but God just hasn't

opened up any doors yet

- I know I should speak to so and so about an

area they need to change, but its just not the

right time yet

- somehow, some of us feel guilty if we've done

anything to create the situation, or the


- I can't bring it about, it has to be all of the


- I'm convinced of this - few things would get done

for God using that mentality

- A church could ever build a building using that


- there's always going to be difficulties, roadblocks

- few people would ever be won to Christ with that


- sometimes, closed doors need to be knocked down!

- at least we need to check the knob to see if its

locked, or to rattle it a little bit

- point is - yes its only by my Spirit, but I expect

you to be using all of your resources in this


- having done that, God will use all of his

- example - last Sunday, had you answer questions


- some might say - well, you shouldn't advertise,

just let the Lord bring them in

- I think that attitude would be a violation of this


- we need to be doing all we can to attract visitors,

and then and only then, can we or should we expect

God to work

- that leads to a very important question - what

evidence can you give of using your strength,

energy, opportunities for God?

- especially in situations that are difficult or

distasteful, like the one we're talking about


- Torque wrench illus. - measures how much force

you're putting on a nut to be sure that you're

exerting the right amount of force or pressure

- what would happen if we put the torque wrench

to your work for God or mine?

- would we be satisfying the first part of this


- before we move on, I need to put a word of balance

on this

- there is a small sense in which the open door

mentality has some merit

- there are times when circumstances would clearly

indicate that thats not the best time or place to

move in and work for God

- if a pastor stood up and said, we're going to build

a ten million dollar building even though we only

have 60 people and I don't care if the bank says we

can't afford it, we're going to kick that door

down, taht would obviously be wrong

- there are even times when it would be inappropriate

to seek to witness to someone at that moment

- but I would say that most of us are not in that


B. Provides Encouragement for the Weary

- God spoke these words to Zerubbabel to challenge

him but also to encourage him

- in fact, let me show you the way Zechariah the

prophet described these words

- read 1:12-13

- these words were good words and comforting words

- Zerubbabel, my spirit is involved in this


- you can work confidently and aggressively

because you know that I too am working

- thats exactly what they did - Ezra 6:14 - "And the

elders of the Jews built, and they prospered

through the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah.

And they built and finished it according to the

commandment of the God of Israel.

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and five grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video