You want me to do what, Lord?!
Ever feel like God has called you to do something for which you feel woefully ill-equipped and inadequate? Do you feel daunted and overwhelmed? Does your courage disappear and your determination melt?
Sometimes we look at the things God asks us to do and we say within ourselves, "I can’t."
Sometimes He calls us to do something – a ministry, speaking to an unbeliever, go on a mission, give more time and money to His work, lead a Bible Study or small group. Sometimes He asks us to feel something – forgiveness for someone, love for an enemy, courage to face a trial, trust in His timing and His ways. Sometimes He pushes us to think in a new way – turning our backs on the values of the world, letting go of pursuing wealth or security, refusing to live in a me-centered way.
Whatever it is – have you ever felt like what God was asking you to do was downright impossible?
A long time ago, about 25 centuries to be exact, a voice was heard – Haggai. He knew what was important and what had to be done, and he challenged God's people to respond.
Haggai was the first of the postexilic prophets. In 586 BC, the armies of Babylon had destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem and taken the Israelites captive. In 538 BC, King Cyrus of Persia decreed that the Jews could return to their city and rebuild the Temple.
Oh, they began the work – but opposition and apathy brought things to a standstill. (Ezra 4:4-5)
Haggai called them into action.
Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is in two parts. First of all, listen to Haggai's exhortation:
"This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what's happening to you! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the LORD." (Haggai 1:7)
At this time, Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, and Jeshua, the high priest, were key leaders in rebuilding the Temple. They had succeeded in rebuilding the altar, but the work on the Temple itself had slowed.
So, through the words of Haggai, the call has been issued – God has "laid the gauntlet down" so to speak.
What was the response of the people?
"Then Zerubbabel…and Jeshua…and the whole remnant of God's people began to obey the message from the LORD their God…So the LORD sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel…and the enthusiasm of Jeshua…and the enthusiasm of the whole remnant of God's people. They began to work on the house of their God, the LORD of Heaven's Armies…" (Haggai 1:12, 14)
I find this passage so very interesting.
I love how it says the people *began* to obey. Sometimes it's that very first step that's the hardest, isn't it? Are you like me – looking at the WHOLE thing that God has called me to do – and stopping dead in my tracks because it's JUST. TOO. BIG.
God asks for one simple step forward in obedience.
Just walk forward.
He promises to be a lamp to our feet, and a light for our path. Sometimes that path is lit up just one step at a time. That's OK, just start walking…
That’s the response of the people.
What was God's response?
I LOVE THIS!!
God sparked the enthusiasm of the people! HE provided the spiritual impetus, and emotional courage, and physical strength to begin the work! HE responded to their obedience with His power.
I am reminded of this verse: "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him." (Philippians 2:13)
Yes, God will work in our hearts if we let Him. He will change our desires, and infuse us with His power.
He will be with us – never asking us to do something that He will not enable us to do.
The Israelites began their rebuilding on September 21. On October 17, the LORD sent another message. Listen to it carefully, because He's saying it to us, too:
"Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you…My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised…So do not be afraid." (Haggai 2:4-5)
I am claiming these verses for a particular trial that our family is facing right now. God is calling me to rebuild a stronger faith. I feel woefully ill-equipped and inadequate – daunted and overwhelmed. My courage has disappeared and my determination has melted.
The task of trusting Him seems JUST. TOO. BIG.
However, I will begin to obey. I will take that one, small, *mustard seed* step of faith forward. And I will trust that God will light the path for me – one step at a time.
He will spark my enthusiasm. He will give me the desire and the power to please Him. He will help me be strong.
His Spirit will remain within me – and I will NOT be afraid.
How about you? Do you have any "Temple building" that God's calling you to do? What will be YOUR response?
"When in doubt, search God out!"