I experienced the “something missing” the other day when I was scheduled to be at the library for a book presentation. To make myself more camera presentable (I had a spot on the front of my sweater), I went by my house and changed tops. And being in a hurry, left my glasses behind.
At the library, I reached up to adjust my glasses and surprise – they weren’t on my face. Since I had typed out what I intended to say, my expected ability was somewhat impaired. There was definitely “something missing.”
When Judah was looking forward to the temple being rebuilt, their prayers and fastings had come to be just a habit — no faith, no expectations. If there was any faith, it was in their own selves and in their own works. They did not realize there was something missing — the Spirit of God — the necessary element.
“... This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 4:6).
He told Judah how that although, the nation was disheveled, worn down and discouraged, there was victory ahead for her. But it wouldn’t be obtained by her army or reputation, but by His Spirit.
This was what the Lord had been trying to get them to acknowledge all along. For 70 years, the people had fasted and prayed regularly for the temple to be rebuilt, but Israel had always gloried in her own accomplishments. Can you just see them walking around patting themselves on their backs, saying, “We fasted and that’s why we’re seeing the temple rebuilt.” They didn’t even know something was missing in their worship.
The fasting and praying was to keep God sanctified (set apart and hallowed) in the eyes of the people, but it was his Spirit that would accomplish the ultimate task.
In the 1960s when I was traveling with my parents in evangelistic work, we went to Morgan City, La., for a two-week revival meeting. When results weren’t forthcoming in the first services as we hoped, another girl from the local church and I decided we would fast and pray for the next service. We went to the church that day, praying intensively for about two hours. We fully expected a great breakthrough that night.
It didn’t happen. We wondered aloud why God didn’t do something out of the ordinary – after all we had fasted and prayed!
Her mother jarred us with the truth. “If God had poured out blessings in a special way that night, wouldn’t you have thought that you two had made it happen? And who would have received the glory?” There was something missing.
When Samson yielded to persuasion and let out the secret of his power (Judges 14), he didn’t know it was lost. Then when Delilah said, “The Philistines be upon thee,” he awoke and said, “I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself.” He didn’t know the LORD had departed from him — he didn’t know something was missing until he tried to manifest that power.
Even the disciples were unaware of the “something missing” in them. When a man bought his son to the disciples seeking deliverance, they were helpless. (Mark 9). So the son was taken to Jesus, who took him by the hand, and lifted him up.
The disciples asked Jesus, “Why could not we cast him out?” And Christ said, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”
“Would you be free from your burden of sin; There’s power in the blood; power in the blood;
Would o’er evil a victory win ... There’s wonderful power in the blood.”