johnny fever

December 25, 2016

Exploding head

To prevent spiritual burnout, depend on the continual supply of God’s Spirit.

This vital truth is seen both in the symbolism of the olive trees and in the direct word of the Lord to Zerubbabel (4:6), “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.” Jesus Christ (pictured by the two anointed ones, 4:14) mediates His Spirit to His people so that they will burn brightly for Him. Three observations:

  1. We must ask God to open us to the supply of His Spirit.

There are two ways to work for God. One is “by might and by power” (4:6). This refers to human energy and effort. G. Campbell Morgan paraphrases it, “Not by resources, not by resoluteness” (The Westminster Pulpit, Vol. VI, p. 53).

That is to say, you can utilize your human talent and be as determined as a bulldog and you will see some results. But when you stand before Christ, it will be as wood, hay, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12), because it came from the flesh. When you work in the power of the flesh, you get the credit because the results were due to your ability and your hard work. God may get a tip of the hat, but He was not at the center and so He is robbed of glory.

The other way to work for God is “‘by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (4:6). This does not imply that there is no toil and sweat when you labor in the power of the Holy Spirit. Zerubbabel and his men still had to clear away the same mountain of rubble and lay the same heavy stones. But when God’s Spirit motivates and energizes the work, there is conscious dependence on Him, and He gets the glory.

The story is told of an old woodsman who came into town for supplies. He needed several items, including a new axe. On the counter of the general store was advertised a new chain saw which was guaranteed to cut down twice as many trees in one day as any previous one. He eagerly purchased the saw.

A week later he was back in the store, demanding his money back. When asked why, he said that before he was chopping down ten trees a day with his axe, but that now with much more effort he was lucky if he could fell one or two. The store owner looked the machine over very carefully. He checked the chain and the spark plug. He could find nothing wrong with it, so he flipped the switch and pulled the cord to start it. As it roared to life, the woodsman jumped back in surprise and exclaimed, “What’s that noise?”

We’re often like that woodsman. We’re gutting it out for God and using some of the tools that are available. But we need to ask God for the power of the Holy Spirit.

To use the lampstand analogy, the power for light does not come from the wick, but from the oil saturating the wick. As long as the wick is saturated, it will burn brightly. But if it closes itself off from the supply, it will smolder, char, and go out. Even so, we must allow God’s Spirit to saturate us so that we will burn brightly for Jesus Christ.

  1. We must open ourselves continually to the supply of God’s Spirit.

A woman asked D.L. Moody once, “Why do you talk so often about the need for being filled with the Holy Spirit. You always are stressing the need to be filled again and again. Why isn’t once enough to be filled?” Moody replied, “I leak.”

Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:2,3). But we must learn to walk by means of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), continually, repeatedly depending on Him.

In this vision, the angel had to awaken Zechariah from a sleep-like condition and then direct him to the vision by asking what he saw (4:1-2). Later, Zechariah has to ask twice regarding the meaning of the two olive trees (4:11-12). The trees provided a continual flow of golden oil to the lamps so that they did not burn out. All of these features are designed to show us that we must depend on God alone and that we must do so continually.

  1. B. Meyer (The Prophet of Hope [Christian Literature Crusade], p. 58) observes that the wick is dependent on the source of oil moment by moment. It has no storehouse or backup supply. It is always on the edge of bankruptcy, but always supplied.

  1. We must allow the supply of God’s Spirit to benefit others through us.

What good is a light under a basket, as Jesus observed (Matt. 5:15)? The whole point of a lampstand is to give light so that people will not stumble in the darkness.

Dr. Charles Feinberg (God Remembers [American Board of Missions to the Jews], pp. 74-75) points out the appropriateness of oil as a symbol for the Holy Spirit. He lists seven functions of oil. First, oil lubricates, thus minimizing friction and wear. Second, oil heals. The Spirit of God heals hearts wounded by sin and the sorrows of life. Third, oil lights. The Spirit illumines God’s Word and gives us direction in life. Fourth, oil warms. The Spirit melts cold hearts that are unresponsive to God. Fifth, oil invigorates. The Spirit gives divine energy and strength. Sixth, oil adorns. In the Old Testament, it was used to adorn the body at a time of joy. Even so, the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is God’s joy. Seventh, oil polishes. The Spirit smoothes the rough edges from our lives as He produces His fruit of kindness and gentleness in us.

As we continually open ourselves up to the abundant supply of God’s Spirit, we will be used of God to impart the benefits of the Spirit of God to others.




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