In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.
I read this verse this morning out of the book of Haggai and I just had to share with you, in some way, the power and promise that stuck with me when I read it. I’d like to share with you for just a moment a few things about this man Zerubbabel and why at the end of the book of Haggai he is called by God “Zerubbabel, my servant.”
The story of Zerubbabel does not begin in Haggai nor does it end in chapter three verse twenty-three with this extraordinary promise that God will make him “as a signet.” The story of Zerubbabel actually begins in Ezra chapter one when Cyrus king of Persia makes the decree to rebuild the a house to the Lord at Jerusalem. In Ezra one verse three Cyrus sends out a call for anyone who is still faithful to God to go and to be apart of this construction project.
We see already while the people are in captivity Zerubbabel is still faithful to God. He had the spirit of God working in his life as Ezra one verse five states when it says that there rose up men of the tribe of Judah, from which Zerubbabel was a part, that were raised by the spirit of God. He was obviously a leader not only from what the book of Haggai says about his position of governor of Judah, but also because in the book of Ezra and in Nehemiah before it begins its lists of who left to go to Jerusalem it says “These are those that went up with Zerubbabel.” He had influence amongst other Jews because of his godliness.
It says, “went up with,” which means that whether or not these went with him Zerubbabel was going. Also speaking to his quality of leadership, take a look at the number of people he lead out of Persia. In Ezra we see he lead 42,370 men plus their women and servants who numbered 7,337 plus 200 singing men and women; that’s 49,907 people that Zerubbabel is responsible for. He was obviously a godly man because, as Ezra three verses two and four tell us he lead the people in worship and sacrifice.
He was also a man dedicated to the sanctification and purity of the worship of God. In Ezra four when the people of the land come and want to continue their methods in syncretism by adding the worship of Jehovah into their religious practices, Zerubbabel, along with the other leaders, stand up and say “No.” He was faithful despite the potential persecution. In Ezra 5.2, after they have been threatened not to build this temple to God, it says that Zerubbabel began to build the house of God despite the danger of it.
All this is just a very quick over view of the character of Zerubbabel that we find so now we go back to the original text in Haggai where they have been called under conviction from the man of God to build this house to the Lord and it says in Haggai one verse twelve that Zerubbabel and the rest of the people “obeyed the voice of their God….and the people did fear before the Lord.”
Again we see God working on the heart of Zerubbabel in verse fourteen it says, “And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel..” But move on down again to chapter two God encourages Zerubbabel in verse four and actually gives him the promise of his presence because they are doing His work. So we’ve seen all these things, the kind of character that Zerubbabel displayed the kind of heart that he had towards God.
So now we can come back to Haggai two verse twenty-three. Haggai is closing out the book, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and God has one last message and its for Zerubbabel.
In verse twenty-three it says “I will take thee Zerubbabel,” meaning literally that God will take and accept Zerubbabel. Then God calls him His servant. We find in Ezra five one when the people write their letter to the king of Persia they call themselves the servants of God but here God actually looks at Zerubbabel and says “my servant.” Then God makes Zerubbabel a promise, “I will make thee as a signet” God promises to use Zerubbabel as seal as a token of His power and authority because, or for, as it says “for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.” God made good on His promise too. Later in Zechariah four verse seven it says “Who art thou O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.” God promises great victory and even success in verse nine it says “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid this house his hands shall also finish it.”
God even goes on to include Zerubbabel in the family of the Messiah in Matthew one verse twelve and thirteen we see how he was part of the bloodline that brought the Saviour into the world.
Why? Why all this for Zerubbabel why take all this time to look at this man? Why did this verse strike me so much this morning? Because of the blessings and rewards he was promised? No. Because of his part in the bloodline of Christ? No. Because of a simple two word description penned by the man of God at the command of God; my servant. Did God call him, the mighty governor of Judah? No. Did God call him the builder of the temple? Did He even name the temple after him? No. He called him my servant. I pray that is how my life can be summed up. I pray that’s how God would look at me. I pray that God almighty in heaven creator of all things would look down and say “Ransom, my servant.” Do I have the heart that God could work in? Do I have the character that God can be glorified with? I pray that I can have said of me by Him and I hope you have that desire as well: to be called the servant of God.