Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord’s message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.” And 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 the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king. Haggai 1:12-15, ESV.
The people had been told to look at their indifference toward the work of God and consider their ways. In response, they feared and obeyed God. Consequently, God stirred up the spirit of the leaders and the people and they began the work. Temple construction got underway!
The progression is important. The fear of God and obedience to God’s command to “Consider your ways” arouses a commitment to do the work of God. This is a good start, but it is not enough. For them to actually accomplish the work of the Lord, it was necessary that God be with them and stir up their spirit. It took a divine operation of the Word of God upon their hearts to get them out of their paneled houses, and down to the temple construction site. They were enabled to get to work once God lit a fire under them.
We can relate, can’t we? Maybe you took to heart the rebuke to “Consider your ways” from Haggai 1:5-7. You understand that you are guilty before God for not pursuing His will and doing His work. You may have even decided to change. But you woke up this morning with the same schedule and the same daily priorities you had before you considered your ways. What to do? Let today’s passage send you to your knees. It is time to pray to the God who calls you to the work—to pray that He will stir up your spirit. Acknowledge your dependence on Him and ask Him to change your heart.
I will join you in that prayer. May God light a fire under us all, for our good and His glory.