Week of Monday, May 22 ­– Sunday, May 28
By My Spirit – Man as Chaplain

And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:1-6 ESV)

The year was 1940, one of the darkest in the history of the English people. More than 300,000 British troops suddenly found themselves pinned down in northern France. Nazi forces were bearing down on them. The Brits faced imminent annihilation. Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his advisors thought at best the navy could rescue 20,000 to 30,000 before it was too late. If so many forces were wiped out, Hitler and the Nazis would invade the British Isles—and win. The King of England called for a national day of prayer. That Sunday, an estimated 70 percent of the British people showed up at churches all over the country. They begged for the Lord's mercy on their fathers and sons, and for their national survival. 

And the Lord heard those heartfelt prayers and responded with what became known as “the miracle at Dunkirk.” Hitler inexplicably delayed giving his generals the order to finish off the Brits. A great storm over Germany prevented Nazi planes from being able to take off. The British people quickly assembled some 900 fishing boats, yachts, trawlers, and other private and government vessels, and began ferrying the troops off the French beaches and back to England a few at a time. By the grace of God, nearly a third of a million souls were saved as a result, as was the British nation.

Sometimes, the might and power of man fails, we find ourselves flat on our backs, and the only place we can look is up to the heavens. There are times when God is our only hope. I can tell you that I have found myself at the end of myself many times, looking to the Lord to deliver me. Men, there are times that only God’s intervention can turn the tide.

Just as God answered prayer and providentially saved British forces from being wiped out at Dunkirk, we read here in Zechariah 4 that He promised to step in and turn around the situation in Jerusalem. The city was still in ruins, no wall to protect them from invaders, and the temple remained unbuilt years after the foundations had been laid. The Jewish people were tempted to give up. Yet that is when God does His best work!

In a night vision, God gives the Prophet Zechariah a message to Zerubbabel, the governor of the returned exiles. The image of the golden lampstand and two olive trees was to bring the returning exiles hope to move forward with the rebuilding of the temple, trusting in the God of heaven. The temple would be rebuilt, but it would not happen by human might or power, it would be done by God’s spirit! Guys, it is the same today. Trying to do God’s work in the flesh leads only to frustration. Jesus said: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Truly, we must rely on the indwelling and empowering spirit of God to do everything God has called us to do, including leading our families and friends as Chaplains.

As the churches are depicted as lampstands in the book of Revelation, so the people of God are to be a light to the nations of the world, beginning in our homes, communities, and local churches! And just as the work of the rebuilding of the temple would occur in 516 B.C., the work of God in and through our lives will take place today through the strength and power of the same Holy Spirit! To be the chaplains and spiritual leaders God has created us to be, we must be filled with the Spirit of God!
- Do you remember a time when you came to the end of yourself, felt helpless and hopeless and you cried out to God for His intervention and He came through? Have you shared that story?
- Can your wife and kids, your grandkids, your friends, etc. see your total dependency on the spirit of God in your life? What steps can you take to help make that more of a reality?
- Confess to the Lord those times when you relied on your might and power and not on His Spirit and pledge to draw your strength from Him.