“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).
Immediately before this, Zechariah saw a vision. The vision included a lampstand of solid gold and two olive trees (Zechariah 4:1-3). The olive trees were symbolic of two anointed ones (Zechariah 4:11-13). Some believe these to be: Zerubbabel, the Governor (Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 4:6-7) and Joshua, the High Priest (Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 3:1, 6, 8). Other believe these to be: Haggai and Zechariah, prophets of God (Ezra 5:1-2; 6:14; Haggai 1:1, 3, 12-14; 2:1, 10, 20; Zechariah 1:1; 7:1, 8). I believe that the first view fits the context better (cf. Zechariah 4:7). Either way, these two anointed ones would cause the lamps to burn. Zerubbabel had laid the foundation of the temple; and he would finish it (Zechariah 4:9 cf. Ezra 6:4). The prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, motivated Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the people to do this work (Ezra 5:1-2; 6:14; Haggai 1:12-14).
Now to our text. Zechariah was to deliver this message to Zerubbabel: “ ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). The E.S.V. Study Bible comments, “God’s word to him is a reminder that the obstacles that faced him in the rebuilding task will not be overcome by conventional resources of might or power. Instead, the resources will come from God’s Spirit.” Robert Taylor Jr. comments, “The job will be completed not by human power and might but by the Spirit’s aid” (Editors Thomas B. Warren and Garland Elkins, The Minor Prophets, Power Lectureship, p. 288). (1) This may have been intended to encourage Zerubbabel that they were not alone. Haggai encouraged the people saying, “I am with you, says the LORD” (Haggai 1:13). (2) This may have also been intended to caution the man that the things that they would accomplish would not be accomplished through their own might.
These two points have application to us. (1) We should remember that we are not alone. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). He has not placed a tasked on us. Which is too great for us to complete, with His help. “No temptation has overtaken you, except such as is common to man; but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). (2) Furthermore, we should remember to acknowledge that the things that we accomplish, we are able to accomplish because of Him. “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14). “It is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13 cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:13). “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through who you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:5-9). “He gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25).