Summary: Part two of God's Call to Revival looks at the prophetic words spoken by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah that stirred the hearts of the people to rebuild the temple of the Lord.
God’s Call to Revival
Haggai and Zechariah
Last week we looked at the return of the Jews to their homeland under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Jeshua. They just finished 70 years of Babylonian captivity, and what we looked at in God’s Call to revival is for them to
• Leave Familiar Ground
• Identify Their Priorities
• Move to a Greater Level of Faith
• Lay a Strong Foundation
• Understand Spiritual Warfare, and
• Perseverance through the delays
We ended where I would like to pick up today; and that is in the prophetic word God used to stir up their hearts to complete the work God had given them to rebuild the temple.
“The prophet Haggai and Zechariah…prophesied…So (they) rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 5:1-2 NKJV)
These words spoken by Haggai and Zechariah are found in the books written by them and are recorded for us in the Old Testament. But before we go there, I’d like to share with you a quote that outlines how this great work was accomplished. It’s something that I have used and believed in.
“The will of God will never take us where the grace of God will not protect us.”
God will always make a way, as we shall see in our time together.
The first prophetic word comes from the prophet Haggai. As we read these words it’s good to keep in mind that this was the first time God had spoken to the Jews since their return from Babylon. It’s the first time God’s voice had been heard in Judea since the days of Jeremiah, which goes alone with his prophecy given by God that we looked at last week.
“If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me.” (Jeremiah 15:19a NLT)
And so God had to stir up their hearts so that they would return and serve Him.
Let’s take a look then at what God tells them that stirs them to action.
1. Quit Offering Excuses
In other words, stop all these excuses you’re using for not following and serving God.
Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: “This people says, ‘The time has not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built.’” (Haggai 1:2 NKJV)
Now there is something extremely disturbing in this passage. Notice how the Lord begins. He calls them “This people.” I find this disturbing because God always referred to them as “His people,” but never in such a distant form as “This people.”
There seems to exist a gap with these words that should make us all sit up and pay attention. It was a gap between the way they were living and God’s word, which they were using in order to excuse their actions of not building the temple.
OH how this speaks to us. Do we use God’s word to get out of Gods’ calling?
And the other part of this is that we live in a society where people no longer take responsibility for their actions. We live in a society of excuse makers. In our victimization culture it’s always someone else’s fault. It’s the government’s fault, it’s our parent’s fault, or it’s the school or teacher’s fault. It’s the fault of Hollywood, guns, co-workers, spouse, and the list just keeps going.
I found these excuses quite amusing that were made to insurance companies.
• In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
• The guy was all over the road! I had to swerve several times before I hit him.
• I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment.
• The telephone poll was approaching fast. I attempted to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end.
• The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran him over.
While these are rather silly, there are some excuses we give God as to why we won’t follow Him and His word.
I’ll do it Later – Telling God later is the same thing as telling God “no,” and later may also be too late for the good God intended when He said it.
It’s too Difficult – If this is what we believe then we should consider these verses. “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
I’m too Busy – Nothing is more important than God’s calling. By saying we’re too busy we’re putting our agenda in front of God’s.
God let me Down – We rationalize that since God didn’t come when we wanted, then why should we do what He asks?