By Lori Stewart
CBN.com Zech 4:10 says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”
I’m so glad that God gets excited when I start something new. He knows that trusting Him will cost me something.
I recently started a new life adventure. God directed me, an almost 40-year-old school teacher, to move from California to Virginia to go back to school. As a wife and mother of three, you can imagine the tremendous leap of faith this was for my husband and children. But the Word of God is full of such stories.
When the exiles returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, they faced one obstacle after another. First, the Jewish exiles had no place of worship since Solomon’s temple had been destroyed. Zerubbabel and Jeshua were priests in charge of building a new temple. But before they could build the temple, an altar of sacrifice was built.
Ezra 3:3 says, “Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar.”
Have you ever been afraid to start something for God? God almost always calls us to the very thing that terrifies us. Fear is the opposite of faith. He must kill the fear that lies within us, in order to make us people who solely rely on Him and His Word. Faith is what pleases God.
When God spoke to me in 2005 He said, “Major in Communications and prepare for television.” My first thought was, “I’m afraid to speak! And I don’t know the first thing about television!”
God probably smiled right about then. I love what Joyce Meyer says. If God asks you to do something that makes you afraid, just “do it afraid!”
Have you ever started something new for God and nobody seemed to care or offer to help? Jeshua and Zerubbabel believed God wanted them to rebuild the temple. Unlike today, the men had no building program launch celebration. They couldn’t even pay the workers real wages; the Bible says the Jewish exiles paid the workers with food, wine, and olive oil.
When we moved to Virginia, my husband and I had no jobs waiting for us. No one welcomed us when we arrived, because nobody knew we existed yet! We only knew that if God provided for all the obedient men and women in the Bible and in history, then God would do it for us too.
Have you ever wanted to start something new and all you hear is negative voices? Zerubbabel and Jeshua faced discouragement from the older generation. Ezra 3:12-13 records that while most of the people were rejoicing when the foundation was laid, another sound was heard--weeping! The older priests remembered Solomon’s glorious temple and they wept when they realized the new temple would not be as grand.
When God tells you to start something, count on a few things:
- Small beginnings
- Real risk
- Financial need
- Discouragement , even from some believers
Not a very appealing list, is it? Now do you see why God rejoices when we begin a new work for Him? Our faith and obedience attract His favor and His supernatural power.
God will give you favor from unexpected people when you dare to obey Him. King Cyrus fully supported the exiles return and the building project. The next Persian kings, Darius and Artaxerxes also encouraged construction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Maybe the local people opposed the rebuilding, but the exiles had the favor of the most powerful people of their time.
As you step out in faith, God will not only meet your needs, but will bless you with abundance. Over time, financial provision arrived for the builders, accompanied by reinforcements. God sent a second wave of exiles led by Ezra. Artaxerxes loaded Ezra with gifts and provisions (Ezra 7) to take back and even wrote to his treasurers, “You are to give Ezra whatever he requests of you.”
Can you guess how the story ends? The temple is rebuilt and that inspires another man, Nehemiah, to return to build the city wall. See, your obedience to start small may ultimately lead to more people starting small, and the cycle continues.
My story is still in the “small beginning” stage. But I can tell you that God provided an incredible job for my husband, and I successfully completed my first semester in grad school. May God rejoice over you in 2008 as you are faithful to start small.
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