It was on this day, in 520 B.C., that Zerubbabel and the people of Judea began to clear the Temple site in preparation of construction of the Second Temple. We can read about this in the book of Haggai:
“So 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, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.” (Haggai 1:14-15)
It’s interesting to me that the text says, “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel,” these other men and the people of Judah. This wording demonstrates that, if the Almighty calls us to do something, He will give us the inner strength to do that work. That doesn’t mean everything will always run smoothly or without any resistance and trouble; it means He’ll give us the strength to endure the troubles that are sure to come our way. Throughout history, everything that God called His people to do was always accompanied with trials, hardships and attacks from an adversary, if not the Adversary. Still, the fact that God stirred up their spirit to accomplish these things, gives us reason to believe that He will stir up our spirit in the same way, so that His purposes for our lives will be accomplished. In fact, the next chapter of Haggai, adds weight to this notion. Through the prophet, God said:
“Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,” says the Lord; “and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,” says the Lord, “and work; for I am with you,” says the Lord of hosts … “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:4, 9).
Notice that He told them to “be strong” and to “work.” He didn’t tell them to be strong, sit idly by and watch everything fall into your lap. It doesn’t work that way. Just as He told them to keep working, we also must keep working and persevering until the goal becomes a reality. All the while our confidence must be in Him, knowing that He is with us — but we have to be willing to do the work. If He calls us to a task, we can take comfort in knowing that He will see us through the difficult times until everything is finished. Because He is faithful, we must be faithful as well. In these days leading up to Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets), be encouraged and continue in the work that He’s called you to do. It will be worth it.