|Haggai preaching - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: "So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God." Haggai 1:14
The prophet Haggai's ministry was short—less than four months. He was one of the exiles returned from Persia to Jerusalem in 536. Bible scholars date his ministry in the year 520.
During the 16 years that passed between the exiles' return and Haggai's message the people had begun rebuilding the temple but soon abandoned it in disinterest. Now they were focused on rebuilding their own homes. Trouble is, things weren't working out so well. Their harvests were puny, their food unsatisfying, their clothes not warm enough and there was never enough money.
" 'Why?' says the Lord of hosts. 'Because of My house that is in ruins while every one of you runs to his own house' " - Haggai 1:9.
After hearing Haggai's message the leaders decide to be obedient and finish rebuilding the temple (Haggai 1:12-13). God adds His amen to this: " 'I am with you...' " Haggai 1:13.
I love how Haggai gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of why his words were successful: "So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubabbel … Joshua … Johozadak…" Haggai 1:14.
[The Hebrew word for stirred up is ur. It means to rouse, awaken, stir up, excite, raise up, arouse to action, open one's eyes. Other places it's used is of an eagle stirring up its nest (Deuteronomy 32:11); a musical instrument warming up (Psalm 108:2); God awakening the prophet (Isaiah 50:4); and a call to the Lord's arm to "awake"(Isaiah 51:9) - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible p. 1243.]
I think we need to pay attention to this whenever we feel the weight of things not right in our own church, city, and country. It was not, finally, Haggai's eloquence that got the leaders and people moving but God stirring hearts.
How do we who aren't leaders aid this process along?
- Jesus words to pray that God send workers comes to mind - Matthew 9:30.
- Paul's command to make "supplications, prayers and intercessions" for kings and all who are in authority is another thing we can do. - 1 Timothy 2:1,2. For, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes" - Proverbs 21:1.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your power over the heart of even the highest earthly ruler's heart. Please stir up the hearts of our leaders, secular and spiritual, to honor and obey You. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.