What do you do when you find yourself in an impossible situation? Many say, “Well I work harder,” or “I build my faith,” or “I go on an extended fast.” All of these are good and right things to do, yet, I have found that the assignments that are truly from the Lord cannot be accomplished by any human effort. The good news is that this is where “God’s Grace” enters the picture. No wonder the Lord desires to grant His Church a deeper understanding of the power of grace this year. I do not know of another season where the accumulated challenges of the Church have ever been greater. On every hand we find ourselves surrounded by an ever increasing hostility and opposition. When 1,800 pastors a month are quitting the ministry in the United States, it isn’t because they have not tried to do the will of the Lord.
Opposition all the way
No, in many cases it is that they have faced so much opposition for so long that they have exhausted all of their strength. If only we could help these men and women of God and ourselves truly understand the passage from the book of Zechariah that states:
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.
7 ‘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!” ‘ “(emphasis mine)
The book of Zechariah has much to say to us today for the prophet was sent to encourage and strengthen those commissioned to rebuild the temple of the Lord, especially the Governor Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua. These two men had all but given up on the hope of ever rebuilding the temple. Just too much junk and rubble, too much division and complaining, too much self-seeking and jealousy, and too much opposition. Perhaps you too feel the same way about your life, your marriage, your job, or your ministry. If so, follow with me as we take a look at how God chose to revive a nation and especially two men regain their faith, excitement, and joy. Thus enabling them to return to the task the Lord had assigned them.
In truth every rebuilding process begins with removing of the rubbish and rubble that has accumulated. The sad truth is that sometimes we get so used to the rubbish that we no longer see it. We often stumble over it, walk around it, but perhaps no longer think of cleaning it up. Some people eventually find their security in the amount of trash that surrounds them. I once knew a family that could only function in “crisis mode.” If there was not a crisis, they would create one. The sad thing was that they were the pastor and wife of a church. They even taught their people to constantly live in crises mode. Of course this all finally ended in professional capstone project writer tragedy for the family. They ended up in divorce, their son was killed in a house fire, and many other tragedies followed them. In short, their life habits drew a constant barrage of taxing and crushing failures. Our spiritual lives too must begin with a removing of the rubbish and trash that surrounds us. The word of God calls this repentance. Zechariah shares this wonderful truth with God’s children after an angel asks the question, “How long Lord of Hosts will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah? Listen to the Lord’s beautiful response to the angel’s question:
13 And the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.
Can you see it? The season is about to change. The Lord had allowed a time of correction to come upon Israel, as a matter of fact seventy years of it, but now the fresh wind of mercy and grace is coming to the chosen people. Even so that is the message I have received from the Lord for this year. There is a new season that has come to us. A season of a fresh understanding and experiencing His Grace!
14 Then the angel said to me, “Shout this message for all to hear: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Jerusalem and Mount Zion is passionate and strong.
15 But I am very angry with the other nations that are now enjoying peace and security. I was only a little angry with my people, but the nations inflicted harm on them far beyond my intentions.
16 “‘Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I have returned to show mercy to Jerusalem. My Temple will be rebuilt, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and measurements will be taken for the reconstruction of Jerusalem.’
17 “Say this also: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The towns of Israel will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem as his own.'”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation
If we put these words into a more personal form they would read like this:
“My love for you is passionate and strong says the Lord who is the head of the armies of heaven! I am angry with those who have been persecuting you and have no intention of changing – they think they can go on and rest in their peace – but that is all about to change. The armies of heaven will come against them! I have returned to show mercy to you, your families, and your ministries. I will cause you to prosper again, but not in the things that have only temporal value. I will cause my spirit to change you into the “image of My dear Son.” That is what true prosperity and success look like.
Oh, how these words stir me. When the Lord chooses to breathe upon passages of His word, there is a powerful freshness that accompanies the reading and declaring of the word. That is what I am experiencing as I read and pray over these passages from Zechariah. I hope and trust the same Spirit of truth and revelation is being imparted to you from these writings. Still we must see what preceded these kind and comforting words spoken by the Lord of Hosts to His beloved children. Here are some of the verses that were spoken first. They have to do with the absolute need of “repentance.” Oh, what a sweet word repentance is. It is a call to brokenness and humility. A call to acknowledgment and accountability and it is the door to all of the Lord’s great blessings. Never let us cringe when we hear the word “repent.” It is a call to remove the rubbish so that the true rebuilding process can begin.