Haggai Part One Dive
OVERCOMING DISCOURAGEMENT – BUILD AGAIN!
H 1:2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’S house.’”
As you read your Bible, there will be times when you are just eating your vegetables, meaning there will be times when we read the chapters without any feeling of personal revelation. It’s just the straight, fresh Word of God going into our lives like eating a full plate of vegetables, providing nutrients and building us for the future.
There are other times when reading the Bible is like eating a dessert; that moment when you read one verse and you get a ‘sugar rush’, or should I say ‘Spirit rush’ of revelation. As I read and study Haggai, I only get two verses in and Haggai 1:2 jumps out at me (see the opening of this Dive)! The warning is strong: Have I let the wrong voices discourage me and stopped doing what God has called me to do? Haggai is strong and assured that he is speaking on behalf of God, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says’ and he is just as confident that the people are being led astray. We know from the Snapshot video that the building of the Temple had stopped and there was a seventeen-year gap before the prophet Haggai got them back on track. Perhaps they stopped because they were listening to the wrong voice and that discouragement and misguided word stalled for seventeen years. But wait–God sent Haggai to the rescue! He came with strength and confidence to tell them exactly what God was saying. Get ready, this book is short but packs a punch! We need to recognise the difference between the voice of God and the voice of ‘these people’.
Let me show you some points from Haggai that hit my heart, perhaps they’ll help you get back on track in your own life. At times, we listen to the ‘these people’ in our lives–their opinions and directions–more than the voice of God. Haggai had something to say about how to begin to listen to the voice of God again, let’s check it out. As you read Haggai, his calling to get the people back on track becomes very prevalent. Each sermon is a step by step moment, realigning their hearts, empowering them to begin again.
1. Be honest when things are not going well!
H 1:5 Give careful thought to your ways
Haggai was telling them to have a little self-awareness check-in, because at this moment, they were not going well. Perhaps today, God is saying this to you, “Let’s be honest, the fruit of your life isn’t good.” Maybe your first step is to realise, like Zerubbabel and Joshua, your need for change and your need for God. It’s hard and confronting but it’s this realistic look at their lives that motivated them to get back on track.
2. Get the big vision back
H 1:9 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house.
Haggai then reminded the people of the big picture, the reason they’re out of exile and back in Jerusalem. The enemy had come in and discouraged their mission, so Haggai reminded them that they were there to build God’s house. Some of you may need to get the big vision back so you can overcome the little foxes that are inhibiting what God has called you to do. The big vision keeps us on the right track, and what a great vision: to build the house of God!
3. Recognise the power of obedience
H 1:12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God.
The next step to get out of the mess you are in is to you go back to the direction of the LORD and obey what He said. I love that in Haggai we get to see that the people obeyed the voice of the LORD. Exile was probably the strongest lesson of obedience to the voice of God. What He says is right and, as it turns out, for your good–so just obey!
4. God is with you and will empower you
H 1:13 “I am with you,” declares the LORD. So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel..
I can’t believe we have got so much out of Haggai and we haven’t even finished the first chapter! I love this moment where God says to them, “I am with you” and then to prove that He is, stirs up their spirit to work on the house. God isn’t just about words, He is a God of action. When you say yes to the prophecy of God over your life, not only will He be with you, He will empower you to fulfil all He has called you to do. Obedience is the key that unlocks the door to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
5. Be strong and do not fear
H 2:4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak…
Once you realise things are not going well, you get the vision back and you are obedient to the voice of God, it’s not necessarily just smooth sailing from there. You are going to need to be strong, and your strength comes from knowing three things: He is with you (verse 4b), this has been promised to you (verse 5), and His Spirit remains among you (verse 5b). So, don’t fear, be strong! When things get hard, just remind yourself over and over again of these three things, read Haggai 2:4-5 over and over again until you are encouraged to keep going.
I told you there was so much in this little book! Haggai is prophesying to a people that are discouraged. They had stopped building and were listening to the voices of discouragement and self doubt. Maybe you have stopped building too. Today as you read Haggai, let the prophet of encouragement stir you again! Let the word of the LORD come to you. Haggai was prophesying to Zerubbabel, Joshua and the remnant that have returned from exile to a destroyed Jerusalem, saying this is not the end. It’s a big vision that they have to rebuild the Temple, and history tells us they did it! Be stirred and empowered as you make your way through Haggai this week!