James 2:20–24, Faith without works is dead. James is referring here to the works of faith, not the works of the law. No man can live a good enough life to be saved by his Torah-obedience or the works of the law (Rom 3:20, 28; Gal 2:16; 3:11).
At the same time, faith in Elohim is more than just mental ascent—“a knowing in your heart.” It has to be backed up by action (and we’re not talking about the works of the law). For example, when Elohim told Abraham to leave Babylon or to sacrifice Isaac, he obeyed by leaving that country and moving to Canaan.
Moreover, many were healed in Yeshua’s ministry because they had faith in the Master and backed that faith up with corresponding action, which was the evidence of their faith. This faith-action continuum had nothing to do with Torah-obedience per se, but had everything to do with “putting your money where your mouth is” by backing up your faith or belief with action.
It is this kind of faith that James is talking about here, and this in no wise contradicts the teachings of Paul who said that no man is justified by the works of the law. When Paul declares in Ephesians 2:8–9, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of Elohim, not of works…,” he was correct and not opposed to James. What’s more, Paul goes on to say in verse 10, “For we are [Elohim’s] workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works…that we should walk in them.” These good works (i.e. obedience to the Torah) are the fruits, evidence or proof of our salvation and are the works that back up our faith.
So, in summary, the Bible teaches that we need the faith (a heart that believes and wants to obey Elohim) to lead us to salvation, as well as the works of faith after we have received Elohim’s free gift of salvation as evidence that we are saved. This fact in no way contravenes the reality of salvation by grace through trusting belief in Yeshua the Messiah, which is apart from the works of the Torah-law.
When I first wrote this article a few years ago, I viewed the idea of creating and living in one’s own so-called “God (or Elohim) bubble” as a defensive mechanism for dealing with the attacks from the world and the devil around us: One could slip into one’s own God bubble as a refuge in the time of trouble. While this is still a true concept, there is, perhaps, a greater principle at play here that needs mentioning: Perpetually living in one’s “God bubble” is not only a defensive strategy, but are lifestyle and offensive strategies as well. First, it is a way to stay continually abiding in Yeshua who is the vine and we are the branches (as per John 15) as well as a way to stay in his river of life constantly.
Second, it is also an offensive strategy. There is very little that the ordinary person can do about the evil plans of the Babylon the Great New World Order’s spirit of Antichrist to takeover the world and also our lives. By living in a perpetual God-bubble day-by-day as a lifestyle and mindset, we will not only be making the world around us a better place, but we will be radiating the love and truth of Elohim outward to those living in the darkness of hopelessness and despair. This is a way for us to fulfill Yeshua’s command to be salt and light.
Create You Own “God” Bubble to Deal With Life’s Attacks
May everyone reading this take careful note and pay close attention to the following: Creating a “God”-space bubble around you is a biblical strategy to protect yourself from the attacks of one’s spiritual enemies. Without it, you may not survive theses attacks.
Who is the main enemy of our soul that is hell-bent on turning each of us into a spiritual casualty and a notch in his gun belt? Who is the one who is inexorably determined to pull you off the straight and narrow path that leads to Yeshua and his eternal kingdom? Who works tirelessly to pull your spiritual focus off Yeshua and his Word? Actually, the Bible reveals that the disciple of Yeshua the Messiah has three such enemies: the world, the flesh and the devil.
How do we deal with such rabidly determined enemies? There is the natural way and the supernatural way.
Most people choose the natural way to deal with adversity. It’s the default mode that, because of man’s fallen sin nature, one automatically and involuntarily chooses. It’s the way of self and flesh. The natural reactive tendency of humans when attacked is to create around themselves a fortress of pride, self-justification, self-righteousness where they blame others and seek pity as a form of defensive protection. The focus of this self-defensive strategy is on self and simply yields to path of least resistance dictated by one’s sinful nature. It is merely a natural, automatic and thoughtless default response of man’s fallen sin nature. If we don’t catch ourselves, we will automatically find ourselves doing this.
When attacked, instead of creating a defensive fortification where a focus on self forms the foundation stones in our defensive fortress wall, we need to run to the Rock of our Salvation who is our High Tower in times of trouble. David, a man after Elohium’s heart, writes about this many times in his psalms. David shows us to make YHVH and not self the focus when our enemies attack us, and how to find refuge in our personal “God” bubble. A bubble seems a fragile, an almost invisible thing with a very thin wall—something that pops easily. So get that image out of your mind. Instead, think of an invisible force-field that can easily repel any incoming projectile no matter its size, speed or destructive capabilities.
Such a bubble or spiritual force field will shield and protect us from any of our enemy’s attacks. It will insure that we weather the ferocious storms of life that blow against us. In that place, we are relying on the unlimited power and wisdom of YHVH to aid us in our time of need instead of the weak, faulty and deceptive arm of the flesh. The former leads to light and life; the latter leads to darkness and death. The former brings healing and strength; the latter glosses over pain and is merely weakness feigning as strength.
Since each person is different, each one will furnish their “God” bubble differently depending their spiritual orientation and makeup, tastes and interests. In my times of trouble, and most of other times as well, I maintain a spiritual force field around me by which I’m able to repeal spiritual attacks. When attacks happen, I then take refuge in my own personal spiritual bubble. This involves turning to the Scriptures for guidance, wisdom and encouragement. Prayer—talking to Elohim—is a vital component of my spiritual bubble or force field. Often I visualize myself either at the foot of Yeshua’ cross or before the throne of my Heavenly Father. Often I will myself involve hard physical work (to settle my emotions and to help clear my mind, which helps to me to destress and get my mind off the problem, so I can think and pray clearly). Many times, I listen to beautiful and spiritually uplifting music, which again helps me to elevate my spiritual focus. Often I find my own Garden of Eden in nature where I can imbibe in the beauty of Elohim’s creation. There I can talk with the Creator and find healing. To accomplish this, often I will work in my garden. Sometimes I write Elohim-centered psalms and poetry. David wrote many of his psalms in times of distress—even when his life was in danger. This helped him to get his mind off of his circumstances and onto YHVH, who was is salvation and deliverer. Whatever I do, in all cases, I try to get my mind off myself and onto Elohim who is my source of wisdom, hope and guidance, and my ultimate Savior and Deliverer. Often, I imagine myself falling down at the foot of the cross where I find my strength at the feet of Yeshua. I tell myself that if he endured that for me, then I can endure this for him.
For other people, their “God bubble” might be spending time with cherished and caring family members and friends, their spouse, their spiritual family, at church or during the Sabbath and biblical festivals.
This is what my “God” bubble looks like and what helps me to deal with spiritual attacks. What does your “God” bubble look like?
If you don’t have your own “God” bubble, how about making one to help you deal with the pain, stressors and attacks of life?
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
Luke 24:49, Endued with power from on high.
What is the most powerful Force in the Universe? It is Holy Spirit of YHVH Elohim—the Almighty Creator God of the Bible!
By the force of Spirit and Word of Elohim, the universe and earth were created. With his hands, Elohim shaped man out of earth and by the Force of the breath of his Spirit, he breathed life into that lump of earth and man became a living being. That same spiritual Force impregnated the womb of the virgin Mary and Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of Elohim, was clothed in humanity and became the Elohim-Man and Savior and Redeemer of humanity.
Yeshua the Messiah promised to send that same Force of the Spirit of Elohim to live inside of all those who seek him and put their trusting faith in him and choose to follow and obey him as he leads them on the path of righteous living leading to a life of immortality in Elohim’s kingdom of heaven on earth. This same Force has the power to resurrect the dead from their graves. So how can this Force help you?
Here’s are 33 ways the Force, which is the of the Spirit of Elohim, can empower you:
The Force of Elohim is a free gift to those who ask for it (Luke 11:13).
The Force of Elohim will lead you where to go and what to do (Matt 4:1; Mark 13:11).
The Force of Elohim will speak through you, that is, put words in your mouth and tell you what to say when you’re in a difficult, potentially life-threatening, situation (Matt 10:20; Luke 12:12).
The Force of Elohim will give you power over the evil forces of Satan the devil (Matt 12:28).
The Force of Elohim will reveal to you things that are to come in the future (Luke 2:25–27; John 16:13).
The Force of Elohim will give you supernatural and miraculous powers (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; Rom 15:19; Heb 2:4).
The Force of Elohim will bring spiritual and immortal life (John 6:63; Gal 6:8; 1 Pet 3:18).
The Force of Elohim will fill you up and make a river of life to flow from you (John 7:38–39).
The Force of Elohim will live inside of you (John 14:17; 1 Cor 3:16).
The Force of Elohim will teach you about all divine things and help you to remember things (John 14:26).
The Force of Elohim will point you to Yeshua the Messiah, the Savior of the world (John 15:26).
The Force of Elohim will convict you of sin and help bring you to righteousness (John 16:8).
The Force of Elohim will bring judgment against the world because of sin (John 16:8).
The Force of Elohim will bring judgment against Satan the devil who is the evil ruler of this world (John 16:11).
The Force of Elohim will guide you into all truth (John 16:13).
The Force of Elohim will reveal spiritual mysteries to you (John 16:14).
The Force of Elohim will give you boldness in difficult situations (Acts 4:31).
The Force of Elohim will bring comfort to your life (Acts 9:31).
The Force of Elohim will impart many supernatural gifts and abilities to you (1 Cor 12:3–11).
The Force of Elohim will fill you with joy (Acts 13:52; Rom 14:17).
The Force of Elohim will raise the righteous dead from their graves (Rom 8:11; 1 Pet 3:18).
The Force of Elohim in you confirms that you are a child of Elohim (Rom 8:14–17).
The Force of Elohim helps you in your times of weakness (Rom 8:26).
The Force of Elohim will give you hope (Rom 15:13).
The Force of Elohim will produce wonderful fruits of love in your life (Gal 5:22–25).
The Force of Elohim will give you wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Elohim (Eph 2:12–14).
The Force of Elohim will give you a great inner strength (Eph 3:16).
The Force of Elohim will protect you from your enemies (Isa 59:19).
The Force of Elohim will anoint you to preach the gospel (Isa 61:1; Luke 4:16–18).
The Force of Elohim will help you to walk in Elohim’s paths of righteousness (Ezek 36:27).
The Force of Elohim will cause you to have dreams, visions and to prophesy (Joel 2:28–29).
The Force of Elohim will help you to do mighty things for Elohim (Zech 4:6).
The Force of Elohim will write the Torah-laws of Elohim on your heart (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10; 10:15–16).
Psalm 111:2, The works of YHVH…studied by all…pleasure. Studied is the Hebrew word darash meaning “to tread or frequent; usually to follow (for pursuit or search); by implication to seek or ask; specifically to worship, diligently inquire, make inquisition, question, require, search, seek [for, out].” Pleasure is the Hebrew word khayfets meaning “pleasure; hence (abstractly) desire; concretely a valuable thing; hence (by extension) a matter (as something in mind) that is acceptable, delight (-some), desire, things desired, matter, pleasant, pleasure, purpose, willingly.” This verse is pregnant with meaning and can be viewed from several vantage points depending upon which word or group of words one focuses.
First, the works of YHVH are worth studying, following, pursuing, seeking, or diligently inquiring about.
Second, studying the works of YHVH is an act of worship. Those who seek YHVH diligently by studying his works are actually worshiping him in so doing.
Third, those who study the works of YHVH desire to do so and find that his works are worthy of studying and they find pleasure in learning about him; they place high value in this pursuit.
Psalm 111:10, The fear of YHVH…beginning of wisdom. This statement is often attributed to Solomon and his book of Proverbs, but it actually originated with David. Solomon learned this truth from his father and repeated it twice later (Prov 1:7; 9:10). Had he remembered these wise words of his father after he had become rich, famous and powerful, perhaps he would not became an apostate in his latter in having fallen so far away from YHVH. One can start out well as a young person walking in the path of truth, light, wisdom and righteousness, but that’s no guarantee how they will end up. Young people would do well to follow the wisdom of their parents, grandparents and elders and to learn, so as not to repeat the mistakes of the older generation.
Psalm 112:1, Blessed is the man. YHVH promises blessing upon those who fear him and delight in his commandments. This is such a simple concept to understand that it is shocking that more people cannot grasp it! When you acknowledge the Almighty Creator of all things, who is the Just Judge of the universe and the Supreme Lawgiver and you seek him, serve him with reverence and live by his rules, it all stands to reason that you will reap some benefits. The blessings resulting therefrom are incalculable; the psalmist lists a few of them in the following verses.
Verse 2—His descendants will be mighty upon the earth. The Hebrew word for mighty is gibbor meaning “powerful; by implication warrior, or champion, chief, giant, mighty, strong (man), valiant.” When we think of the concept of mighty, we mustn’t fall into the trap of defining mighty as the world defines it, which usually involves money, power and fame. One can be gibbor in YHVH’s sight and not possess those attributes that society requires for one to be considered “great” or “mighty.”
Verse 3—He will possess wealth and riches.Wealth is the Hebrew word hon meaning “enough.” Therefore, the Bible defines wealth as having enough. How does one define enough? How many people on earth do not have enough? What are our needs versus or wants? If our needs are met, then we have enough. If we have more than that, then we have an over abundance and are truly wealthy. Not only that, but are wealth and riches to be defined only in terms of material possessions? How about expanding the definition of wealth, riches and enough to include good health, family, marriage and friends? Let us take these ideas to the higher spiritual plateau to include redemption or salvation, the receipt of the Spirit of Elohim into one’s life, divine revelation from the Word of Elohim, a relationship with Yeshua the Messiah, and eventually eternal life including inclusion into the very divine family of Elohim. Now do you feel that you possess wealth and riches and have enough, even though you may not be rich monetarily? If so, give Elohim the praise! If, not, then get saved by coming into a spiritual relationship with Yeshua, and then begin to count the blessings that will follow as a result!
Verse 3—His righteousness endures forever. What does this mean? This can be taken to mean several things. First, one’s righteousness endures through one’s posterity because if one has raised one’s children in the fear of Elohim, and they in turn will pass these values on to their children and so on. Second, as spiritual salt and light, one has also influenced the world around themselves to make it a more positively and a better place. Like a pebble dropped into a lake, the ripples of one’s actions will reach out and touch many lives for years to come. Third, the righteous man has the hope of eternal life, therefore, he will live forever before Elohim because he fears Elohim in righteousness. What is righteousness? It is adherence to the commandments of Elohim (Ps 119:172) and delighting in said commandments (Ps 112:1).
Verse 4—Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness. This is a huge promised blessing! The righteous man will be given divine revelation as to what to do and where to go when those around him are walking cluelessly in confusion and darkness.
Verse 5—He deals graciously and lends. He is so blessed of YHVH that his cup overflows and he is a blessing to those around him. Most people are takers because they are in survival mode and they do not have enough left over to be a blessing to others. On the other hand, those who fear Elohim find themselves in his blessed river of life and the blessings therefrom overflow onto others.
Verse 5—He will guide his affairs with discretion.Discretion is the Hebrew word misphat meaning “a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree, determination, discretion, or to be judged.” This means that he will be able to rightly discern between right and wrong and make proper judgments when facing life’s uncertainties; he will know what to do and when to do it, thus ensuring that he will always make the right decision, which leads to good results and blessings.
Verse 6—He shall never be shaken. This is because the righteous man is standing on the solid rock of YHVH Elohim and his Word or Truth.
Verse 6—The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. His legacy will live on after his death both on earth and in heaven.
Verse 7—He will not be afraid of evil tidings. Why is this? Because his heart is steadfast trusting in Elohim. This is because he is on the right side of Elohim, therefore, heaven is on his side. What is there to be afraid of? If Elohim be for us who can be against us (Rom 87:31)?
Verse 9—His horn will exalted with honor. This is the ultimate and highest blessing of the man who fears Elohim and delights in his commandments. Power and honor will be his, and not as men define these terms, but has heaven defines them,which are true and everlasting power and honer!
Psalm 112:4, Light in the darkness.YHVH promises to give light in the darkness to those who fear him and delight greatly in his commandments (v. 1). Light in the darkness is knowing what to do when others are walking around blindly in confusion. It is divine guidance and revelation. As YHVH commanded light to shine in the darkness on day one of creation, so he will command the divine light of his Truth to shine into the darkness of our life situations and we will instantly know what to do and where to go.
Before reading this article, it would be helpful to review quickly the book of Jonah, so that the following will make sense.
When YHVH gives you some specific and direct marching orders, don’t disobey him no matter how difficult or distasteful they may seem to you. If you disobey, you may not be pleased with the unexpected consequences of your disobedient actions. Jonah found this out the hard way.
Before pointing our fingers at Jonah for declining the mission YHVH had given him, how many of us have done the same no matter how small or large the assignment?
When we disobey YHVH (i.e. sin), we take ourselves out of his will for our lives and the result is the loss of peace and tranquility. Sometimes, in an attempt to get our attention and bring us back to him, YHVH brings turmoil and “storms” into our lives to redirect us back to him. If and when this happens, we would do well to ask YHVH for wisdom and understanding as to why we are experiencing what we are (Jas 1:1–8, 12–15).
When YHVH tells us to do one thing, and we want to do something else, we, at this time, Scripture instructs us to bring every thought of ours (that is not of YHVH) captive into obedient compliance to our Messiah (2 Cor 10:5).
When we rebel against fulfilling a divine mission, YHVH will pursue us to get us back in line with his perfect will for our lives.
Sin and rebellion puts us into a spiritual state of sleep, so that we’re oblivious to the consequences of our actions upon us and those around us. When this happens, we come under spiritual delusion in thinking that we are doing the will when, in reality, we are walking in accordance with our own mind, will and emotions as dictated by the world, the flesh and devil (Eph 2:1–3; Jas 3:15).
We cannot hide or run away from our sin and rebellion. It will be exposed, even if YHVH has to use heathens and strange circumstances to do so.
Only when we humbly confess our sins and repent will the “storms” of YHVH’s judgment cease and the sea of life made calm in our lives.
Jonah, to his credit, owned his sin and took full personal responsibility for it without blaming others or making excuses. He didn’t want others to suffer for his folly. He was willing to accept the consequences of his sin. Because of this, YHVH showed him favor, prepared a fish to swallow him, and then gave Jonah three days in the fish’s belly to ponder his errant ways.
When in a place of trouble and distress, Jonah prayed and expressed his faith in YHVH. When facing distresses in our own lives, how often do we fail to cry out humbly to our merciful Father in heaven?
The eyes of YHVH are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. (Ps 34:15)
The righteous cry out, and YHVH hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. YHVH is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but YHVH delivers him out of them all. (Ps 34:17–19)
We should be ready and willing to pray anywhere at anytime. Jonah prayed in the belly of a fish. What excuse do we have for not praying no matter when or where we may find ourselves in our time of distress?
Jonah was a spiritual backslider, yet he repented and YHVH heard and accepted his prayer. Jonah’s example should be an encouragement to any backslider no matter how grave the sins he has committed against the Creator.
As Jonah’s three-day tenure in the fish’s belly was prophetic of Yeshua’s time in the grave, so Jonah’s “resurrection” from the depths of the sea points to the resurrection of our Messiah as Yeshua himself so declares in Matthew 12:40. Jonah’s faith in the Creator along with his “death” and “resurrection” points sinners to the Messiah who alone can save us from the sting of sin which is death. Our only hope of victory over death and the grave is through Messiah and the resurrection from the dead he promises to those who are his.
Upon repenting of his backsliding and being mercifully delivered from certain death, Jonah humbly submitted to YHVH’s mission to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. Jonah had to repent of his own sin before he was meat for the Master’s use. Jonah accepted the yoke of his mission, and fulfilled his mission with great boldness. Similarly, when YHVH gives us a mission, we must be bold to fulfill it faithfully and without hesitation. We must be willing to go when, where and to whom he tells us. We must faithfully do exactly as he has commissioned us, to proclaim what he has commanded us and nothing more or less.
When YHVH gives you a prophetic word for someone, don’t let your personal emotions cloud your perspective. Don’t forget that you’re merely YHVH’s spiritual mailman who is delivering his mail, not yours. Period. Jonah let his anger for Nineveh (Israel’s mortal enemy) cloud his judgment.
A prophet must accept his divine mission without any preconditioned biases against the message’s recipient, and he must remain as emotionally neutral and unbiased as possible. He should focus only on fulfilling his mission as YHVH wishes and remain impartial and personally emotionally detached, so as not to pollute the purity of the divine message.
No matter how many miraculous things YHVH does in a prophet’s life, and no matter the magnitude of the message, the greatness of the recipient of the prophetic word, or the importance of the mission, a prophet needs to stay humble (small in his own eyes) before YHVH.
Prophetic words of judgment are always conditional upon the recipient’s response. If they refuse to repent, the word will come to pass. If they repent, YHVH will relent and the judgment will pass.
The Ninevites wholeheartedly fasted, prayed and repented of their sin, and YHVH in his mercy spared them. This is the key to averting YHVH’s well-deserved judgment upon individual sinners and a sinful nation.
Don’t wish harm on others no matter how evil you think they are or how much you think they deserve YHVH’s judgment. At all times, orientate your heart and thoughts to that of the Father. He is merciful, gracious, patient and longsuffering and so should we be. When repentance occurs, his mercy triumphs over his judgment.
Don’t wish judgment or destruction on your enemies. If you do, YHVH might spare your enemies and bring judgment on you just to teach you humility. We all deserve YHVH’s judgment, and were it not for his merciful grace, where would any of us be? Instead, we must seek the well-being of our enemies through their repentance and salvation. The missionary of YHVH must pursue his divinely inspired endeavors with a heart of love and mercy that overshadows any personal feelings he may have to the contrary. This is getting in tune with and acting out the heart of our Heavenly Father.
Jonah, in not being pleased over the Ninevites’ repentance and YHVH sparing them judgment, evidenced his own self-righteous pride toward the heathens. After all, YHVH had miraculously and mercifully delivered him when he was a backslidden sinner. For Jonah not to show the same grace to the Ninevites that YHVH had shown to him was a manifestation of prideful hypocrisy. We must be quick to extend the same mercy and grace to others that YHVH has shown to us. After all, YHVH loved us all while we were yet sinners (Rom 5:8)!
The conversion of sinners should bring the saint great joy, not sullen anger as occurred with Jonah. In this situation, he manifested a despicably carnal and rotten attitude!
There are few things as repugnant as a saint who falls prey to his base and carnal passions. In this case, Jonah was acting like pouting, puerile prophet who instead of being joyful at the salvation of sinners wished ill on them. Yeshua declares that the angels in heaven rejoice at the salvation of one lost sinner, yet all Jonah could do was to manifest a vindictive spirit.
Jonah was a conflicted prophet who spewed both sweet and bitter waters from his mouth. He was a true prophet of Elohim who manifested some truly noble and saintly character traits, to be sure, but he was conflicted in that he had not conquered some of his most carnal and base passions. Such prophets are a liability to the kingdom of Elohim. When in tune with YHVH’s Spirit, they are capable of much good, but when under the control of their own perverse, moody and sinful nature, they are perhaps a greater liability to the kingdom of heaven then they are an asset to it.
Isaiah 8:6–7, Waters of Shiloach/Shiloah/Siloam…waters of the River. Here the prophet is contrasting the stream that flows from the Gihon Spring and empties into the Pool of Siloam in S.E. Jerusalem with the Euphrates River. When YHVH’s people reject the gentle waters of his river of (Torah-) life and instead find their joy in the mighty river of men’s carnal and rebellious ways after which the majority seek, as a judgment, YHVH’s will allow his people to be overrun and overcome by that river in which they have put their trust.
The waters of the Gihon Spring are here contrasted against those of the mighty Euphrates River, which calls to mind two other scriptural principles as well. The straight, narrow and unpopular way of YHVH’s Truth is juxtaposed against the broad and popular way of the world, the flesh and the devil. Moreover, these contrasting symbols call to mind the still, small and gentle voice of YHVH versus the loud, demanding and brash voice of the world, the flesh and the devil. Elijah learned at the mountain of YHVH that his Creator was not in the earthquake, the wind or the fire, but speaks quietly and gently to his servants (1 Kgs 19:12).
This is the same voice to which the psalmist makes reference when he declares, “Be still I know that I am Elohim” (Ps 46:10). On the other hand, when humans refuse to listen to the gentle voice of their heavenly Parent, Elohim is forced to raise his voice in judgment against his rebellious children at which time his voice thunders, breaks things and shakes everything (Pss 18:13; 29:1–9; cp. 32:8–9).
For years, in my Bible, I have had Zechariah 4:6 marked as significant with a large red check mark, and can even quote this verse from memory (admittedly, it’s short and not difficult to memorize):
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of YHVH to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” Says YHVH of hosts.
But only recently, as a younger senior citizen, have I stopped to consider what this verse really means and to wonder, as I look back over six decades, thirty of which have been in ministry including 25 years pastoring, whether or not and to what degree my life’s major ministry and other life activities have measured up to this wise proverb. To be honest, I believe that much of what I have done “for the Lord” has been weighed in the balances and has been found wanting.
Honestly, I have accomplished a lot for YHVH and, to be sure, there is some good fruit that has come from 30 years of ministry, but I can’t help wonder how much was done in my “might and power” as opposed to “by my [YHVH’s] Spirit.” For example, what have been the effects of my ministry upon my marriage and family? Positive or negative or somewhere in between? The answer to this necessitates pause for some serious reflection, which I have been doing lately. This then begs a couple of questions. First, when doing my ministry ostensibly “for the Lord,” was I doing so in the good, better or perfect will of YHVH (Rom 12:2)? Honestly, it would be arrogance on my part to rate myself very highly on the superlative side of this scale! Second, how much of my ministry has been about self and ego—in other words, pride, which is a pitiable and abominable sin in the eyes of YHVH (Prov 6:16–17 cp. Jer 9:23–24)? How much of my ministry has been done in accordance with my own will and impetuosity, as well intended as it may have been, as opposed to the leading of the Spirit?
Even though this is not the main message behind this Zechariah chapter four passage, when pulling this verse out, it can stand alone as a proverb or adage to live by. If we take our spiritual microscope to this verse, one can’t help but to ask oneself these questions.
So what is the real contextual message of Zechariah 4:6?