Words of Divine Comfort— Octavius Winslow, 1872

“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.”–Zech. 4:6

Our meditation yesterday was directed to the human means we are diligently and believingly to employ; let us today consider the Divine blessing which God has promised, and which we may expect, in the proper use of these means. The Temple was a type of the Church, and Zerubbabel was a type of Christ. The great truth shadowed forth by these two types, is that, both the work of preparing materials, and of constructing the house–“the Church of God, purchased with His own blood”–is, from first to last, a Divine and supernatural work, not in any degree wrought by human power, but solely and entirely by the Spirit of God. “Not by might, nor by power (that is human), but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.” From this subject of meditation many spiritual and profitable reflections arise.

And first, whose work is conversion? man’s work or God’s work? God’s Word, as vindicating His glory, shall answer–“Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). O, my soul! your spiritual creation was a mightier work than the natural creation of the vast universe. There is more of the power of God, and the wisdom of God, and the love of God, and the holiness of God, in the new birth of one sinner, than in the creation of myriads of worlds like this! The Divine image restored–the dead soul made alive–the kingdom of Satan destroyed–the empire of sin overthrown–the divine nature imparted–and the soul becoming a “temple of God through the Spirit”–oh, what an unfolding of God is here! “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.”

And who carries on in your soul the work of grace thus divinely begun? The same Spirit–by whom the first tear of penitence was created, and the first look of faith was imparted, and the first throb of life was inspired, and the first spark of love was kindled, is our Teacher, Sanctifier, and Comforter. Dwelling in the regenerate soul, He guards the work He has thus divinely wrought; and, lest anything hurt it, He keeps His sacred vineyard night and day. O, then, my soul! seek to be filled with the Spirit of holiness; and see that no self-dependence, no grieving of the Spirit, no looking off of Jesus whom He glorifies–arrests the progress of your heart-holiness, and so retards your fitness for the inheritance of the saints in light. Oh! honor the Spirit by acknowledging His work, and the Spirit will honor you by completing it until the day of Jesus Christ.

And what is the great secret of power and success in service? Still the answer is, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.” We are strong for labor–powerful in service–successful in work for God and for man–in the same proportion as we cease from the human and lean upon the Divine–cease from ourselves, and draw all our supplies from the Spirit of God. Not by human might and self power shall we be able ministers, successful evangelists, useful teachers of the young. In drawing sinners to Jesus, in instructing the ignorant, in reclaiming the vicious, in placing living stones in the temple of God, and in planting precious jewels in the diadem of Jesus, deal closely with the life-giving power of the Spirit. Weak though you are, inefficient and unskillful, yet gird yourself to the battle with the world, the flesh, and Satan; go forth to your work of preaching Christ’s Gospel, of making Jesus known, of plucking souls as brands from the burning, with these wondrous words ringing in your ears, “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”