When Facing Life’s Mountains

  • October 24, 2016
Monday 24

Zechariah 4:1-9

Wouldn’t it be great if it were easy to do God’s will? But sometimes it seems as if a mountain stands between us and what we’ve been called to do. When Zerubbabel felt this way, the Lord sent His prophet Zechariah with a message of encouragement.

Zerubbabel was given the task of rebuilding the temple. When King Solomon built the first temple, the kingdom was at peace, the treasuries were overflowing, and the workforce was huge. But the situation was quite different when the Jews returned after 70 years of Babylonian captivity. They were few in number, their enemies kept attacking them, Jerusalem was in ruins, and resources were very limited. Zechariah’s message to Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:1-9) contained two principles that strengthened him and will also help us when we face insurmountable obstacles.

We are to face our God-given tasks in the power of the Holy Spirit, not in our own strength and energy (Zech. 4:6). The Lord’s work can never be done with human strength. His indwelling Spirit must empower us with the wisdom and energy to accomplish His will in our lives.

When God calls us to a task, He assumes the responsibility for removing any hindrances (Zech. 4:7-9). What seems to us like Mount Kilimanjaro is a mere anthill for the Lord. When we’re tempted to give up, it’s time to look up, see the obstacle through His eyes, and trust Him.

Is the Lord asking you to do something that seems impossible? Dwelling on your own inadequacy leads to discouragement, but focusing on the Lord gives hope and the strength to persevere.

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1 Then the angel who was speaking with me returned and roused me, as a man who is awakened from his sleep.

2 He said to me, What do you see?" And I said, I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it;

3 also two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side."

4 Then I said to the angel who was speaking with me saying, What are these, my lord?"

5 So the angel who was speaking with me answered and said to me, Do you not know what these are?" And I said, No, my lord."

6 Then he said to me, This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, `Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts.

7 What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of Grace, grace to it!"'"

8 Also the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.

6 Then he said to me, This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, `Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts.

7 What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of Grace, grace to it!"'"

8 Also the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.

1 Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him,

2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,

3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.

4 When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable:

5 The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up.

6 Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.

7 Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out.

8 Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great." As He said these things, He would call out, He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

9 His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant.

10 And He said, To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.

11 Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.

12 Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.

13 Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.

14 The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

15 But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

16 Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light.

17 For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.

18 So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him."

19 And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd.

20 And it was reported to Him, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You."

21 But He answered and said to them, My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it."

22 Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they launched out.

23 But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger.

24 They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, Master, Master, we are perishing!" And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm.

25 And He said to them, Where is your faith?" They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?"

26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.

27 And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs.

28 Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me."

29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.

30 And Jesus asked him, What is your name?" And he said, Legion"; for many demons had entered him.

31 They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.

32 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission.

33 And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country.

35 The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened.

36 Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well.

37 And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned.

38 But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away, saying,

39 Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you." So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.

40 And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him.

41 And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus' feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house;

42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him.

43 And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone,

44 came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.

45 And Jesus said, Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You."

46 But Jesus said, Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me."

47 When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.

48 And He said to her, Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

49 While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore."

50 But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well."

51 When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl's father and mother.

52 Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep."

53 And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died.

54 He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, Child, arise!"

55 And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat.

56 Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.

1 And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases.

2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.

3 And He said to them, Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.

4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city.

5 And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them."

6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was happening; and he was greatly perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead,

8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen again.

9 Herod said, I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?" And he kept trying to see Him.

10 When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida.

11 But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing.

12 Now the day was ending, and the twelve came and said to Him, Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place."

13 But He said to them, You give them something to eat!" And they said, We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people."

14 (For there were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each."

15 They did so, and had them all sit down.

16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people.

17 And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full.

18 And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, Who do the people say that I am?"

19 They answered and said, John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again."

20 And He said to them, But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered and said, The Christ of God."

21 But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone,

22 saying, The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day."

23 And He was saying to them all, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

25 For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?

26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

27 But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God."

28 Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.

29 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.

30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah,

31 who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

32 Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him.

33 And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--not realizing what he was saying.

34 While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.

35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!"

36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.

37 On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him.

38 And a man from the crowd shouted, saying, Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy,

39 and a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth; and only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves.

40 I begged Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not."

41 And Jesus answered and said, You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here."

42 While he was still approaching, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father.

43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples,

44 Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men."

45 But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.

46 An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest.

47 But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side,

48 and said to them, Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great."

49 John answered and said, Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us."

50 But Jesus said to him, Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you."

51 When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem;

52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him.

53 But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.

54 When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?"

55 But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;

56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."] And they went on to another village.

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, I will follow You wherever You go."

58 And Jesus said to him, The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

59 And He said to another, Follow Me." But he said, Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father."

60 But He said to him, Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God."

61 Another also said, I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home."

62 But Jesus said to him, No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

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Publish Date October 24, 2016
When Facing Life’s Mountains

Wouldn’t it be great if doing God’s will were easy?

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