God's Will, The Prophets

Haggai – Part 1 of 2

Think Carefully

Haggai 1:8 – “Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord.”

After the torture and cruelty of the Assyrians, the Babylonians piled on even more – ‘They burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its palaces with fire and destroyed all its precious vessels’ (2Chr36). All those who hadn’t died in the fight were taken as exiles to Babylon to be servants. Then, in 539 BC, Persia conquered Babylon, led by Cyrus the Great and something miraculous happened.

The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation – ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.’ (2Chr36)

How incredible. The kings of Israel and Judah should have been the ones obeying God’s commands. In fact, if they had, the people would never have been carried off as slaves! Now we see a heathen king recognizing the voice of the LORD and bowing to his will! God’s will is never hindered but whether you want to be part of it or not, is up to you.

Just under 50,000 Israelites came back to their hometowns in the first wave of returning exiles and among them were Zerubbabel and Joshua. These two men were instrumental in rebuilding the alter so that the people could bring their burnt offerings to God. They also appointed the Levites to supervise the work of the Lord’s house. Sixteen years later though, God’s house was still not built and Haggai speaks for the Lord:

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord. Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Consider your ways.”

The Lord revealed his will through Cyrus that the time had come to rebuild his house but the people wavered through fear. They had been allowed to return home with a clear directive, yet they faltered. How often does this still happen? God shows us his will and we proceed with our own. He directs us toward something but we choose a more convenient path. What we are saying is, ‘Lord, here I am but send someone else.’ Fear can damage our walk with God and it can rob us of the wonders that He has in store for us.

Do not put God’s will on hold. When God speaks. Listen. When he directs. Trust. Miraculous things happen when we submit to His Will.

Think carefully, consider your ways and ask yourself, “Am I doing what He has asked of me and am I going where He has directed?”

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