Provoking Many

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2 Corinthians 9:2 “For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.”

One of the desires that I have in my life is to provoke or stir others to do great things for God. When I read the book of Acts and see the great works of the early church, it provokes me to desire to build something great for God. I look at some of the people who have provoked me to attempt great things for God, and I have the same desire to provoke others. My pastor for many years, Dr. Jack Hyles, provoked me to desire to build something big for God. Dr. Jack Trieber provoked me as a young man to build something great for God as I watched God as a young man build a great work through His life. Dr. Evertie Moore provoked my faith to become a pastor and build a great work for God as I heard his story of faith. Some of the other men who provoked me were Dr. Tom Malone, Dr. Lee Roberson, Dr. J. Frank Norris, and Dr. Lester Roloff. Each of these men has provoked me in some way to attempt to build something great for God.

Now, what is it about all of these that provoked me? It was their zeal for God to see God do something through them that provoked me. Paul said, “…your zeal hath provoked very many.” The word “zeal” means passion, committedness, love, fire, devotedness, enthusiasm, energy, and intensity. Each of these definitions is what grabs the attention of others that provokes them to desire to do something great for God.

One of the great needs of our day is for God’s people to have a zeal for God. Why is it that people who are zealous for God are often the most criticized? The answer to this question is that the zealous believer often exposes the critic’s indifference and coldness, and that is why they criticize.  Why would anyone criticize someone who is zealous for God? You would think people would cheer those who are zealous. If we are going to do anything for God in our day, we are going to need believers who become as zealous for God as the world is zealous for their wickedness.

Moreover, people want to be a part of something that is alive and not something that is dead. The reason zeal provokes many is because it stirs the embers in the heart of the believer to be part of something where God is working. When Elijah prayed fire down from Heaven, the silent believers came out of the woodwork to declare that the LORD is God. It was the zealousness of David to defeat Goliath that stirred the hearts of a retreating army to turn around and defeat the Philistines. It was the zeal of Gideon with his army of three hundred that provoked those in hiding to come out of hiding to defeat the Midianite army. It was the zeal of Jonathan and his armor-bearer that provoked the hiding soldiers to come out of hiding to fight and defeat the Philistines. You see, it has always been the zeal of the few that had the faith to attempt something great that provoked many to step up for God.

Let me ask, does anyone want what you have? Do people see your zeal for God and say that they want what you have? You can and will influence many for Christ when you get zealous for God and attempt to do great things for God. Always remember, though people may criticize your zealousness for God, that is only because they are jealous that God is doing something through you. It is your zealousness that will provoke others to attempt something great for God.

Dr. Allen Domelle


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