“Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. Ezra” 4:24
“Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, helping them.” Ezra 5:1
The space between these verses in feet and inches, or metres and centimetres, if you are so inclined, is very small. One chapter ends and another begins and on the page of the Bible the space is not a big one.
The space between these verses in minutes and hours, or months and years, is a big one. I think it is somewhere in the region of twenty to thirty years. The ex-exiles returning from Babylon, now living back in Jerusalem had come upon a brick wall of intimidation from their enemies. The work on the temple that they had been rebuilding had come to a standstill.
Some twenty to thirty years later, the work begins again.
The catalysts were the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. They brought the word of the Lord to the situation. It was a word that unlocked the situation and released the nation from the fears that bound them – or perhaps, in Haggai’s case, presented them with a greater fear to deal with – the fear of God – and they began building. Not only did they begin, but they kept on building even though the enemies didn’t let up, and they finished what they set out to build.
I read this a few months ago and at the time I was struck by the power of prophetic preaching. Haggai and Zechariah did not water down their messages to make them more palatable, or invited anyone to join in a debate or discussion, but spoke prophetically to the nation and where, once there had been a nation standing still, making no headway – through their ministry, things begin to happen.
It stirred my spirit.
There is a need for prophetic preachers who bring a word that doesn’t just tickle our ears, or makes us think about changing the way we live our life, but never really empowers us to do so. We need a word that compels us to change, that sticks to us and that will not fade with time.
More than this, it stirred my spirit to seek to be that prophetic preacher!