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Faithful Hearts and Strong Hands

Marsha was a great organizer in the church. She had a knack for getting people involved. Whenever she made a plea for help from the congregation, she always quoted the same proverb: “Many hands make light work.”

As Zechariah continued to respond to the question raised by the delegation from Bethel, he moved from promise to exhortation: “Let your hands be strong so that the temple may be built” (v. 9). The command echoed what the prophets had said at the beginning of the project. Haggai, in particular, urged God’s people not to be afraid, calling upon them to “be strong” (Hag. 2:4). The incentive was the certainty of God’s presence. Similar promises were given to another Joshua, Moses’ successor, at the start of his ministry: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9). Christ makes the same promise to His church (Matt. 28:20). The promise of God’s presence is a reminder that our strength comes not from ourselves but from God. Those who do not feel strong can still be strong because the power resides with God.

The returned exiles of Zechariah’s day had even more incentive to work since the Lord promised a reversal of conditions. Many of the hardships that plagued those who had begun the work had ended or were about to end. Circumstances had improved, but that may have been part of the problem. Improved conditions led to distraction. Some may have forgotten how to sacrifice. The final two verses of today’s reading signal a reversal of the conditions that were a result of the Babylonian captivity. They describe the age of comfort declared by the prophet Isaiah and the end of Israel’s “hard service” (Isa. 40:1–2).

Apply the Word

You can be a blessing today! The promise that God’s people would be a “blessing” among the nations goes all the way back to Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3). Consider a way you can be a blessing to someone who does not know Christ. Your unexpected act of kindness may help them see Jesus!

Pray with Us

Concluding our prayer time for Moody Publishers marketing, please add Kevin Utecht, Rachel Kawate, and Siripayaree Chammavanijakul to your prayer list. May the Lord bless their advertising and publicity ministry.

BY Dr. John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies

Dr. John Koessler serves as chair and professor in the division of applied theology and church ministry at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody) and True Discipleship (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

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