It is hard to over-stress our great need of God's Spirit. As I finish prep for a talk on Zechariah 4, I've been reminded once again of my dependence upon the LORD.
At Old Testament sunset, having returned from exile, chastened Jews, called to rebuild the Temple, are warned not to attempt any work in their own strength.
Is the Davidic Prince Zerubbabel, as Persian Governor, tempted to take matters into his own hands, or to rely on human means? Overflowing lamp oil is highly instructive:
Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit - says the LORD.
Seven golden satellite lamps, each with seven lips for wicks, all of which surround (and are supplied by) the central, gold, bowel-lake of oil, give perfection-squared light.
There are at least EIGHT good reasons for the all-sufficient Spirit to be sought by the Prince, Priest and People as they pursue their God-given task - these same reasons still urge us to keep at the work, build a Holy House, in which Yahweh indwells with His Abiding, Shekinah, Presence.
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Providence - it was by imperial edict of Cyrus, in BC 539, that Persia sent exiles back, and commissioned them to House-Work.
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Munificence - just as Israel had also plundered Pharaoh, so Persia poured out its purse to fund an all-expenses-paid trip to Zion.
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Utterance - by Yahweh's Spirit, prophets like Moses, Isaiah and Ezekiel foresaw this great rebuilding work, which in BC 516 would be fulfilled.
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Holiness - though construction took place on a physical building site, it was the Spirit of Holiness who gave sanction, sending, standing, sanctity, strength and support - in other words, all spiritual fitness - for God's sacred Temple work.
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Abundance - the lake of oil, supplied by (or supplying) two olive trees, along with pipes and bowls, is a never-ending stream, limitless reservoir, and infinite, living, supply that no demand exhausts.
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Forgiveness - finally, in Chirst, the Mediator of the Elect, crucified and glorified, by merits of His death, the Gift of God, the Spirit of Grace, is purchased, downloaded, and resourced. It was, even at this late, pre-Calvary, date, in view of His future work, that God's Slain Lamb supplied the Prince, Priest and People, in the 2nd year of Darius, in BC 520.
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Completeness - Prince, Priest and People were to trust that, by the Spirit, God would do His work: if they ignored the gloom-merchants and wet-blankets of the church, and were not dissuaded or deflected by opponents, then they would see the founding father of the house bring the capstone out, and setting it to rest - even hardened sceptics and gainsayers would be forced to doubly admit that it was only by sovereign "grace, grace" that God's House had been built.
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Radiance - in the vision of Zechariah 4, it is the massive, majestic, lamp which floodlights everything, and banishes black night. This is a symbol of the Mission of the Israel to shed light in the world - this was finally only to be achieved by the Spirit, through Jacob's faith-union, in the Messiah of the Church.
- Providence - it is our business in the church to use the means of grace to take forward God's work: we can do this in the confidence that Christ rules everything for our sake and, by His secret will, will use all manner of means to aid us in the task, surprise us as we work, and check any doubt - most surely, the Lord Jesus has total, cosmic, oversight of the labor of His own House.
- Munificence - as we commit to church work, putting full reliance on Christ, we can expect to have all needs supplied and resources furnished (of what ever sort) to fully finish God's task, always with a surplus. All-sufficient grace and gift, made available in the Mediator, is always more than enough.
- Utterance - the Spirit of prediction is also the Spirit of performance: workers in God's House must repent of doubts and stand on promises, in faith, to strengthen their hearts, as they put hands and bend backs to work.
- Holiness - many Christians pull back from the task with a sense of their guilt or being inadequate for God's work: the Spirit of Christ applies the blood of Christ for cleansing, covering, confidence, and conformed conduct as we undertake Gospel work.
- Abundance - at His baptism in the Jordan, the Spirit rested on Jesus fully and bodily: at Pentecost the Father poured Christ's Spirit out to gift and grace His body for the erection and edification of His House.
- Forgiveness - for all our guilt, sloth, half-heartedness, doubts, unbelief, fear or failure in the work, there is washing in Christ and pardon before God's face.
- Completeness - if we are united to Christ through faith, we are also living stones in the building of God's House; we are therefore also, individually and corporately, the Temple(s) of the LORD - it is with such lowly, contrite, at-His-Word trembling souls with whom Yahweh is pleased to dwell. The work of purification and conformity to Christ, once begun be God, will be carried on to completion until the Day of Christ. If there are still a few loose slates, and some corners need knocked off, God will realign and polish - Christ hasn't finished yet. This hard fact should banish weariness in workers and suffuse glad hearts with peace.
- Radiance - throughout the Old Testament period, Israel failed in her light-bringing, image-bearing, vocation. All that would change at the advent of Christ. The Church would now become what she is always meant to be. The Jews were told by Jesus "I AM the Light of the World." By irradiating us with God's own incandescent light, we must be what we are, a city on a hill, to shine rays of Christ who calls nations to Himself.
Here then are eight key reasons why we must not lean on arms of flesh but cry to the Father who gives His sons good gifts: brother and sister believers - get to work!
Finish then Thy new creation, pure and spotless let us be. Let us see Thy great salvation, perfectly restored in Thee. Changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place, till we cast our crowns before Thee - lost in wonder, love and praise.