Scripture: “Not by strength or by might, but by my Spirit” declares the Lord of Hosts ~ Zechariah 4:6
Theological Thought: The Hebrew term translated as “Lord of Hosts” places God as sovereign over ALL armed forces.  When David faced Goliath in  1 Samuel 17 he proclaims “I come against you in the name of the Lord of Hosts” suggesting that his God was sovereign not only over the armies of Israel, but over the armies of her enemies as well.  In Zechariah, a similar proclamation indicates that it victory or defeat on the field of battle is given or withheld by the grace of God alone.

Image by Zuerichs Strassen
Image by Zuerichs Strassen

Reflection:   Whenever I face “trials of many kinds” (James 1:2) I don’t necessarily count it as pure joy but I do usually see it as an opportunity to overcome.  I am by nature a confrontational kind of person so I want to face problems head on and take care of it.  I look at my “foe” and put on the full armor of God. I take up my sword and tighten my laces and I pray “lord, grant me the wisdom and strength to be victorious today!” Before charging into the fray shouting a battle cry at the top of my lungs.  “Greater is the one who is in me that he who is in the world!” “If God is for us then who can be against us?” “Our God is greater!”  The problem here though is that I am relying on power as can be measured (in Old Testament terms) by horses and chariots (cf ps20:7). I’m looking for a conquering king who will forcefully impose his will on a broken world instead of one who would be willing to be humiliated and crucified for me. It actually reminds me of Elijah in the wilderness (1 kings 19:10-14) – our Lord isn’t about the big displays of power, he’s about being with me in this very moment no matter how bad it is.  Right here and right now.  He wants to make sure I know i am not alone.  He wants me to find hope in his real and present presence and not in strength of any kind. Salvation from my trials is from the person of Jesus, not his works. So I rejoice in the Lord and hope in him alone.
Prayer: Lord I pray that you would draw me closer to you.  Open my eyes to the truth of my circumstances so that I can focus my eyes on you and you alone.
Practice: pick a struggle, a single struggle, but rather than pray for the Lord to fix it, just focus on Jesus. Read scripture about him, sing his praises, sit in silence with Him, and do nothing more than set your eyes on him. Find him in this the present moment.