I love winter mornings. The cold air that rushes over me like a bucket of icy water when I crawl from under the warm covers.... makes me shiver thinking about it. The freezing floor that sucks the, cozy just out of bed, warmth from my feet....brrr..another shiver. What's not to love about that? Generally, I hurry into the bathroom, brush my teeth, moisturize my face, consider brushing my hair but sweep that thought away and jump into my clothes. Why all the rush? I need a cup of coffee, of course. Hmmm....might be because I'm cold too.
This morning I chose a cup of cherries as a prelude to a piece of toast and boiled egg for breakfast. Cherries are one of my favorite fruits. I love plucking the stem off and popping them into my mouth. Yum!
This morning along with my cup of cherries I enjoyed a remarkable passage in Zechariah 4. A few days ago while I was praying about things that were heavy on my heart, the Lord directed me to this chapter in Zechariah. What an encouraging portion of Scripture! Zerubbabel, the Governor of Judah, was given the task to rebuild the Temple after the Jewish people were released from a 70 year exile in Babylon. The Temple had been destroyed along with the walls of Jerusalem. The once beautiful Temple built by Solomon was a charred mountainous heap before Zerubbabel. The gold and silver had been stripped from the temple and carted off to different kingdoms. The beautiful fragrant cedars of Lebanon and the large quarried stones crafted into the foundation and walls of the Temple, the pride of Israel, laid in ruined heaps...all of it.
The monumental task of removing the debris before re-laying the foundation must have been overwhelming to Zerubbabel and Joshua the High Priest. Perhaps a larger mountain was the opposition the returning captives faced from their neighbors the Samaritans. Once the foundation was laid, the Samaritans began to oppose the rebuilding and frustrated the work by sending false and negative reports back to the governors of the King of Persia, the ruling kingdom at that time. The work on the Temple was halted for 7 years until King Darius became Ruler of Persia. God gave a word to the prophet Zechariah for Zerubbabel; a word of hope and encouragement. God said "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of Host". What a Word! In essence, Zerubbable, it's not going to be by your own might or your own strength that this work will be done. It's going to happen because My Spirit is working on your behalf, helping you, giving you all that you need including favor with the new king of Persia, Darius. As a side note...it is mind boggling how kingdoms rose and fell during this time.
When King Darius received a missive from the leaders of Israel, he had the scribes search the archives and discovered that King Cyrus had given edicts for the House of God to be rebuilt at Jerusalem. So, Darius issued a decree for Cyrus' plans to continue. Not only did he approve the Israelites continuing work on the House of God but he footed the cost; Darius also released the articles belonging to the House of God which had been taken to Babylon! Plus, he decreed that
"whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this. And may the God who causes His name to dwell there destroy any king or people who put their hand to alter it, or to destroy this House of God which is in Jerusalem. I Darius issue a decree; let it be done diligently."
That's the Spirit of God at work upon the heart of a king. Don't interrupt this venture again...or else!
"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Host", a great promise to a nation trying to rebuild their country again, but, God didn't stop there, He also said Zerubbable would be the one to add the capstone to the finished Temple.
"And he (Zerubbable) shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of "Grace, grace to it!" "
From a mountain of ruins and a constant battle from opposing forces the building of the Temple and walls were completed. I can imagine the celebration as that capstone was set in place.
When the task we are facing looks bigger than a mountain, God's word is still true to us today. "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of Host". We can accomplish that task, not because of ourselves but because of Him. It will take effort, it will take working in spite of opposition but we will finish and we will look at what is accomplished and say "grace, grace to it".