GOD’S DISCIPLINE OF DISASTER
Called to Listen
By Henry Jaegers
In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, (Haggai 1:1)
In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, (Zechariah 1:1)
You may wonder why I chose these two particular verses pertaining to our subject on the importance of listening to God. These two brief verses, are words similar to those spoken by Jeremiah, Isaiah and others of the prophets, so why are we choosing these two? These two verses point out several principles that are not obvious through casual reading. What I mean by that is, sometimes in reading the word of God in a superficial manner, we miss some of the messages contained in passages that we deem insignificant.
First, I would like to point out who these two men are? To the Jewish mind, they are relatively unknown, especially the name “Haggai” and the name of Zechariah is one that is sed often throughout the Scripture and it appears to be a common name among so many. So, what is the point you are asking? More often than not, God does not use high profile people to bring forth his word. And I think there are good reasons for this. Men are usually listening to the words of high-profile people in order to be like them, hoping to gain some of their notoriety. There is often some selfish motive in listening to these types of people. But God does not use these kinds of people to bring forth his message. He uses ordinary people for the purpose of presenting a message that far surpasses their abilities to proclaim by themselves. Does that make sense?
So why did God call Haggai and Zechariah? We notice he called them to bring forth his word at the same period of time in Israel's history and yet, although their message seems to be similar at the outset, as you study them carefully, you'll find God use them both at the same time for a different purpose.
The second thing I would like to point out from these verses is that they came with the message from God. They were not overseers of a certain situation and compose a message applicable to what they saw. What they saw was not important but what they heard was. They heard God speak. That is so important. I have been in the ministry for over 60 years, and I must confess that every time I prepare a message, I am totally dependent upon God for what he wants me to say. I am not proclaiming to God's people something other than what God has spoken to me. And oftentimes, that message to me deals with a problem, I have but not always. Are you called to preach? Do you understand the desperation involved in the responsibility of bringing forth God's message? Does it cause you to humble yourself in prayer before him seeking for his special word for his special people? If you have been called by God to preach, you understand what I'm talking about? You may understand it in this manner; as I related it to a friend; I just declare the message and God reaches the designed target.
It may sound rather strange to some, but large crowds are not essential for God's word to go forth. But what is essential is men who spend time listening to God speak and waiting upon him until the message comes.
In my case, for some strange reason, I seem to wake up early in the morning with the word of God or message from God in my mind, and sometimes it takes a few hours before I'm ready to present it to others. I look forward to these times each morning and I could tell you after many years of experience, that is the most thrilling part of my life when I wake up each day with a message from God. That is why I formulated these two groups. I need to have an audience to share it with.
Recently I received a great idea about putting all of my messages on audio and I was all excited about the possibility of people reading or listening to the message without having to read it. But I discovered to my dismay, that most people receive the messages on their iPhones and cannot receive the attachments and the audio messages I sent. So, that narrows it all down to just a few people who have computers. I know of only a few people who are able to receive all of this. I'm glad I do not know how many are not listening. But thanks be to God, he gives the message and I just shoot the gun and let the bullets go where they may.
As my homiletics teacher said about finding people called the listen, it boils down to the fact that if I am not a careful listener to God, what makes me think that I have anything useful to share? Being a good listener is taking time to listen to hear God speak. You don't have to be a preacher for that.