Stir, Spirit!

“Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?  Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce.  And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.’ Then Zerubbabel and Joshua, 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.” Haggai 1:4-14

God’s word and His presence do powerful things in us. The first wave of exiles had returned from Babylon to Israel, but settled into their own narrow lives, running after wealth and comfort. When Haggai exposes their selfish drive, that they were spending their energy and wealth on building for themselves and neglecting the higher pursuit of rebuilding the LORD’s temple, which would represent His restored presence among them, their hearts were moved. As they listened and considered their ways, the Spirit stirred, and transformed their thinking, their affections, their motivation and direction. Once they set themselves to work and build for their God rather than themselves, He promised, “From this day on I will bless you.” He can do the same for us! (Haggai 2:19)

River, Blue Pools, Mt Aspiring Natl Park, NZ

Truth affects us–at least it should. When I take time to consider my ways–the way of my heart toward what is temporal or eternal, the way I am drawn to superficial, self-absorbed pursuits or tackling my own agenda, the ways I choose to live either for personal validation or God’s glory– what has God’s word exposed? What difference has considering my ways against His truth made on my choices and priorities, on how I spend my time and resources? Am I seeking His Spirit’s leading, and awaiting His stir, before beginning an endeavor?

Oh LORD, compel me to stop my busy pursuits and consider my ways, to think through my intentions and align them with Yours. Reveal and convict of any self-serving endeavors. Move my spirit to adore You first and love You best, and to build only what will last and bring You glory.

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