Zerubbabel had a promise from God. As governor of the province of Judah, he had been sent back from exile in Babylon to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. He was settled in his heart with the task God had given him because of the promise he had read in Jeremiah 25:11-12—after seventy years in captivity the nation of Israel would be restored. Restoration included a return the land and a resumption of worship. To do that, the temple had to be rebuilt. Cyrus, the Persian King, had issued a decree and put up the funds to finance the work. Zerubbabel arrived with a promise from God, the provision of an empire, and the permission of the king and ran head long into the problems that come when any of us attempt to take hold of God’s promises and step into them.

The job was bigger than Zerubbabel expected. That’s usually how it is with one of God’s promises. We see less and God sees more. God won’t settle for the less we see so He stretches our ability to believe—our faith—until we can catch a glimpse of the more He sees. That stretching hurts a great deal and usually causes a great deal of stress. The stress and stretching either strengthens or destroys us. The strength comes once we figure out we’re not in control—the destruction comes if we don’t.

Zerubbabel also ran into a bit of opposition. You should know already that opposition is a given. You can bank on it. If you have no opposition you are probably not within a hundred miles of God’s plan much less one of His promises. The enemy hates it when we walk in the plans and purposes of God. He knows that’s when the promises come to fruition. Therefore he does everything he can to strategically place mountainous problems in our paths.

Zerubbabel must have gotten frustrated. That emotion comes somewhat standard with this current model of the human package. He became worn down, but he never gave up. He continued to pray and seek opportunities to see through to completion what God had entrusted to him.

God is a God of encouragement and He gave Zerubbabel a clear word to through the prophet Zechariah. We quote this one verse all the time from an otherwise obscure book filled with bizarre prophetic pictures and utterances. God’s word to His servant—“not by power, nor by might, but by My Spirit.”  In other words, Zerubbabel you will not accomplish what I have to given you to do through your strength or ability even if you had the most powerful human army every assembled at your disposal. Only I can accomplish this great task. You must surrender and allow my Spirit to be the power that fulfills the promise.

Imagine that…God gives us a task that is impossible to fulfill and then fulfills it by His Spirit through us. That’s what happens when you surrender instead of stressing and are strengthened by God instead of stalling out trying to please God.

            Philippians 4:13 really is true—I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But—only when I take the emphasis off me and put it on Christ.