Haggai 2:4-7 ESV - Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, 5 according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. 6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts.
Zerubbabel. Ezra. Nehemiah. Three leaders whose hearts God stirred at a vital time in Jewish history. What set these men apart from others who may have experienced similar anguish or excitement? One chief principle distinguished them (and distinguishes the people God uses today) — being stirred is insufficient unless bold action results. All three men left their literal and proverbial comfort zones to do hard things - actions that glorified God and built up His kingdom. Their sacrifice involved personal giving of time, talent, and treasure. If that were all of it, many might be willing to follow their example. However, there were two things beyond personal sacrifice and hard work that they had to embrace to make such a huge impact in God’s kingdom. One was resistance from those outside, and the second was resistance from those inside! Rebooting always invites resistance.
Everyone claims to want improvement until the inconvenience and change associated with improvement becomes clear. Tens of thousands of Jews were content to remain in captivity rather than take the action necessary to reboot the nation which God had chosen. Zerubbabel. Ezra. Nehemiah. And the groups that sacrificed and worked with them. These all prove that God will do great things with those who will allow themselves to be stirred…to kingdom action.
Do you think God is anguished and excited about the same things that anguish and excite us? Remember, the Pharisees were anguished and excited about violations of religious traditions to the point that they hated Jesus and His followers. Ask God to fill you with appropriate anguish and excitement - over the right things! The Gospels are a good place to see this on display.
So, what stirs your heart to holy anguish or sacred excitement? What action is God nudging you to take? With whom have you shared your heart-stirring ideas? Like Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, are you committing your works and desires to God first? If so, trust the results of your bold actions to Him!
Proverbs 16:3 ESV - Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 15:22 ESV - Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.