Impossible things are achieved through the Holy Spirit

Do you ever feel defeated?  Have you tried and tried and still you cannot beat your addiction or your thought framework; have you kept falling into the bad behaviours that you thought were dead?  And when the day does not go well, have you reverted to old habits, and then felt bad and guilty.  Is it that your life is not going where you thought it should? Maybe you had a prophesy over your life and it seemed an impossible dream, and no matter what you do, it seems that you meet shut doors and walls which you cannot climb?

Have you tried to speak the gospel to friends and family and you keep getting stonewalled and you feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall?

Let me tell you this.  Stop doing it in your own strength.  Stop thinking you are all powerful and let the power lie where it should – in the Holy Spirit.

We still have a part to play but the power is not us, but the Holy Spirit. Allow him to prepare the way.

Today we turn to an Old Testament prophet who spoke the words of God: Zechariah.
Zechariah lived in Israel around 500BC, and the words we are focusing on were written between 520 and 518BC, at the time that the exiles returning from Babylon were rebuilding Jerusalem.

Zechariah 4:6
6 … “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 What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain; and he shall bring out the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’ ”

Remember we discussed a few weeks ago, in the context of our Self Denial Appeal, the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem and the opposition that the Jews returning from Babylon to do the work of rebuilding encountered.

Today I want to focus on the power that enabled the people to achieve the impossible.

In this verse we are talking about the power that enabled the temple to be completed and every obstacle; the power that caused every mighty mountain to the rebuilding to be removed.

That power was not their military strength (might) nor their human manpower (power), but it was the Holy Spirit who empowered the workers under the direction and leadership of Zerubbabel 
God achieves the impossible, things we can not do by our might, our strength, our manoeuvring or our planning.

Israel was brought out of Egypt, and into Canaan – the Promised Land - by might and power but not human might and power, but the power of God.  Remember it was Moses the stammerer and murderer and exile who fronted up to the Pharaoh, but it was the power of God who convinced Pharaoh to let his people go.  It was an impossible task for a human, but not for the Holy Spirit.
Centuries later the Israelites were taken as captives by Babylon. 70 years later they were brought out of Babylon, and into Canaan –the Promised Land - a second time when the  Spirit of the Lord of hosts worked upon the spirit of the Babylonian King Cyrus, and induced him to set them free, and worked upon the spirits of the captives, and induced them to go from their new home in Babylon and return to the homeland of their forefathers. 

It was the Spirit who convinced the later Babylonian King Darius to allow the rebuilding of the temple to continue after a 15 year lag period and caused him to prevent their enemies from hindering the build. 

The temple was built, not by Jewish might or power but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, whose work on men’s consciences is mighty to the pulling down of strong-holds. 

2 Corinthians 10:4  the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. 

As Matthew Henry writes: The excellency of the power is of God, and not of man.   

This is not just a nice story from 2500 years ago; it is relevant to us here and now.

Pain and loss are an inevitable part of each believer’s life. These broken and dislocated places in our lives must be given to Jesus so they can be redeemed in his divine economy. This path is difficult but full of hope. As he did with the first believers, God empowers us with his Spirit.  

We will face opposition and that opposition may seem to be insurmountable. In the words of Zechariah, the opposition we face may seem like a great mountain, impassable and immovable.

We may rail and thrash against the mountain. We may beat our heads against that mountain in our own strength, we may take our spade and try and dig our way through that mountain by our might.
But we will fail because we are trying to do it in our own strength so we must to leave it to God to do his work himself by his own Spirit. 

When God has work to do, the mountains that stand in the way of it shall dwindle into mole-hills; All the difficulties shall vanish, and all the objections be got over. 

Isaiah 40:4 says: Every mountain and hill shall be brought low when the way of the Lord is to be prepared,” 

Faith will remove mountains and make them into flat plains. 

Mountains of difficulty are in the way, but before God they were all leveled; nothing is too hard for his grace to do. 

My question to you today is how much do you trust God to deal with the mountains in your life.  Do you believe that God can do, when we cannot?

Do we have any idea of the power of God to achieve his purposes?

I love this quote from Annie Dillard:

Does anyone have the foggiest idea of what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews.

God can do what we cannot.  Our might and our power pale into insignificance when measured against the power of God, but the impossible can be achieved when we relinquish our puny flailings to allow God to move our mountains.

Maybe it is a task that you have to do and you have no idea where to start or how to do it. It may be that the task seems impossible. 

Think of Bezalel in Exodus 31:3 - The LORD said… I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. 

God gave him the ability that he did not think he had. The Holy Spirit enabled him to do what he could not, so he could glorify God in building of beautiful things for the Holy of Holies.

Think of Othniel in Judges 3:10 - 10 The spirit of the LORD came upon Othniel, and he judged Israel; he went out to war, and the LORD gave the King of Aram into his hand; and his hand prevailed over [that king]. 

The small nation of the Israelites overcame their powerful opponents because of the Holy Spirit power.

Think of Joshua and the Israelite army surrounding the city of Jericho, as they took the Promised Land.  All they did was walk around the city for 7 days, then blowing trumpets and shouting and the walls came down.  Not by their might or by their power but by the power and might of the Holy Spirit.  God works in mysterious ways and we are in awe of what he can do through us.
Maybe it is in the area of evangelism that you feel ineffective in your own strength.  Michael Green reminds us that Evangelism is something which depends entirely for its effectiveness on the work of the Holy Spirit. 

That same power that God used in Zerubbabel, Bezalel, Othniel and Jericho is the same power available to you. 

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts. … O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain…

Stop trying to do stuff in your own strength and trust in the Lord, through his Holy Spirit.

The impossible will become the possible. The implausible will become the plausible.  And God will get the glory.