Then he answered and spoke to me, saying, This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power…
The primary application of these words was to the Jews who were engaged upon the great work of rebuilding their temple. Because they could not depend upon themselves, the Lord, in these words addressed to Zerubbabel, opened a better resource. It was not "by might nor by power" that they were to succeed, but by His Spirit. Now the Spirit, whereby God helped the Jews in their necessity, was the very same Spirit which, from the commencement, has been concerned in all that regards the well-being of man, and the government of this lower world. He "moved upon the face of the waters." Upon the world thus created through the eternal Spirit, the work of redemption was to be carried out and accomplished. We do not marvel that the Lord Jesus, on entering upon the great work of His ministry, received a visible communication of that same Spirit; and through that same Spirit He offered Himself a sacrifice unto God. The Holy Spirit does not now descend for miraculous operations in the Church. But the promise of the Holy Spirit is a perpetual promise. And it is necessary for the whole Christian community.
I. THE INFLUENCE OF THE SPIRIT IN BRINGING ABOUT THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE GOSPEL. The Apostles and first missionaries had to encounter difficulties of every shape and character. Where did they get the wisdom which their adversaries were not able to gainsay or confute? How were they enabled to speak those gracious words which never failed? It was through the Spirit of God. We do not confine these marvellous interpositions of the Spirit to apostolical times. The Spirit has always accompanied the Word with power.
II. THE INFLUENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN CARRYING FORWARD THE WORK OF SANCTIFYING AND LIKENESS UNTO GOD. After our conversion we must count upon many a long and weary day of trial and temptation, and spiritual conflict, and heart distress. If we would take a deeper insight into the things of God, we must ask the Holy Spirit to take of the things of Jesus and show them unto us. Our enemies may be overcome, because greater is He who is with us than all who can be against us. It is promised that we shall be "strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man." And the consolation of a Christian man's heart comes direct from the influence of the Holy Spirit. And what is true concerning the individual is true concerning the great Christian body. When the Church is despised and persecuted and everywhere spoken against, God puts forth His interposing arm, delivers His people, and comforts them, confirming the truth of His ancient word, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."
(E. Robins, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.