A Stirring Message from the Prophets

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Ezra 6:13-18

And the elders of the Jews built [the temple] and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. (v. 14)

After the foundation of the temple was laid, opposition from their neighbors caused work on the temple to come to a standstill (4:1-5, 24). Their foes feared that a resurrected Jewish province would threaten their own political leadership in the area, so they frustrated the Jews’ plans.

The people then went back to their own homes and farms and neglected the temple. They began building up their own little kingdoms. Enter the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (read their prophecies at the end of the Old Testament), with a message to get busy doing what God called them to do—build the temple!

And the people listened. They felt convicted of their neglect, and despite the dangers, they resumed working on the temple. Now that’s effective preaching! Preaching that stirs people into action. Sometimes we think the purpose of preaching is to make us feel good; we don’t usually like preaching that points out our faults. But Haggai and Zechariah were forthright about what the people should be doing, and the people responded. And in spite of resistance from their neighbors, “they finished their building” of the temple (6:14). God was with them. “The eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews” (5:5).

PRAYER

Lord, help me to listen to the preaching of the Word so that I may follow it in my life. Amen.