Sent: Friday, February 08, 2002
Subject: Reviving Dead Batteries
Good Morning Ethan & Emily:
As Pastor Mike continues his series of messages on Haggai, there is a verse from the 1st chapter that I want you to remember always as it is both very encouraging and challenging:
“So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel…and the spirit of Joshua…and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people” (Haggai 1: 14 NIV). In the New Living Translations, this verse reads: “So the Lord sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel…etc.”
What’s so significant about this? Well, if you remember from our previous review of this chapter, these Jewish returnees from captivity in Babylon had neglected their goal of rebuilding the temple and had “backslid” into a comfortable mode of living where this project was no longer a priority in their lives. Because of this, God had removed His blessing from them…in fact, God through Haggai had told them that He had literally “blown away” their harvests and means of livelihood (Haggai 1: 9).
What is important is that when challenged by Haggai to again put God first in their lives, they obeyed…and they did it not only out of duty…but out of fear (reverence) for God (v. 12 NIV). But it’s one thing to have a “change of heart”…it’s quite another to do something about it. What really got their “motors” running again was the fact that God “‘stirred up’ their spirits” (v. 14 NIV)…He “‘sparked’ their enthusiasm” (v. 14 NIV). It was not a man-made response…but came directly from God.
So what’s this mean for us today? First of all, it mean that God never gives up on us. These Jewish returnees had wasted 16 years of their lives; yet, God never forgot about them…and when the time was “right,” He jump-started their batteries! The important thing is that they responded immediately and “…began their work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God” (v. 14). This verse also shows us that getting significant things done for the Lord doesn’t depend on what we do or say…that with prayer we can count on God to work in other people’s hearts as well as our own to “prompt” and “motivate” them to action.
There is a wonderful verse of scripture in Philippians that has been an encouragement to me through all my life: “And I am sure that God, who began the good work with you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.” (Phil. 1: 6) No matter what “digressions” we take in life…no matter how much we try to “run away” from God’s will for us…He is always ready to speak to us…to “stir us up” and get us back on track.
The “challenge” part of this “encouraging” thought is that we realize that although God can and will “stir us up” and “spark our enthusiasm” for doing His will….the response is up to us. How many times have you been prompted or “stirred up” by a message or thought after a worship service or Bible study…and then done nothing about it?
Let us rejoice and give thanks to our wonderful Lord that He is always ready and willing to “jump-start” us…to work in our lives and “revive us” like dead batteries. And with this in mind, may we always be willing and ready to take obedient action…to put our lives “in gear,” get back “on track,” and “drive on” to destinations God has chosen that will bring abundant blessing and contentment!
Have a great day.
All my love,