Summary: Exposition of Haggai 2:20-23 about the sovereignty of God over all things and His will for the lives of individuals
Text: Haggai 2:20-23, Title: An Encouraging Word, Date/Place: NRBC, 3/25/07, AM
A. Opening illustration: Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is omnipotent and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Give a biblical definition of omnipotence and explain the difference between and the affirmations of both omnipotence and sovereignty
B. Background to passage: This message came on the same day, Dec 18th, as the last message. The previous one was addressed to the people, and this one to Zerubbabel. The previous message ended with a promise of blessing from this day forth. Remember this day was supposed to be a watershed moment for them where they turned from simple obedience to heart-felt, longing for obedience. And therefore God promised a blessing in v. 19. Now God gives two more encouraging promises that will take place from this day forward in the life of Israel and their leader.
C. Main thought: Just like in v. 1-9 we saw a plan and a promise, in these verses we will see a promise and a plan from the Great Sovereign God of the Universe.
A. The Sovereign Warrior (v. 21-22)
1. God speaks to Zerubbabel who was the governor of Judah at that time about what He is about to do to the surrounding nations. Note the first person pronoun repetition. God says, “I will shake the heavens and the earth…I will overthrow the thrones…I will destroy their strength…I will overturn their armies and kill them.” Note: “riders coming down” was a euphemism of death. The language used is focused on the power of God to do all He intends. God is clarifying and reminding the leadership of a restored, yet still broken, Israel that he is large an in charge. And He will do great and mighty things even among the pagan nations that surround them. God is the initiator of good and of calamity. Nothing is beyond His power, and everything that happens passes across His desk and gets His approval.
3. Illustration: "I began to understand God’s omnipotent power," Struecker said. "He was orchestrating every single bullet that was fired that night. ... The peace that I had was not only for my own life, but for the lives of my soldiers. If any of them were to get shot, then that was part of God’s sovereign plan." And God chose to preserve Struecker that night. “Therefore Lord God, you are more truly omnipotent, because you have no power through impotence and nothing can be against you.” – Anselm of Canterbury, “To make our religious life deep and strong we need to recover that lost sense of awe. We need to be taught afresh the fear of the Lord. And to recover that lost sense of awe, to create a feeling of reverence, we need a fresh vision of God as the Holy Sovereign. The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble. Why (should the nations tremble)? He is holy. We have only to realize that God is the Holy Sovereign, and the awe is bound to come back. The will that rules is a holy will. The power that governs is a holy power. All who sin bring themselves into collision with the sovereign will and power of the universe…The destinies of the world are not, for instance, at the mercy of fleets and armies. The Lord reigns. To know that God rules – to realize His sovereignty – is to be delivered from fear and despair.” “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands—the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne...for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust.” – Spurgeon, C. S. Lewis wrote, “Our leisure, even our play, is a matter of serious concern. There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God.”
4. To this suffering discouraged people, this was a great comfort, as it is to us who are suffering wrongfully. To know that God is in absolute control even using hardship to accomplish His ends in our lives is immensely comforting. To know that no Muslim nation, no serial killer, no lost spouse, no wayward child, no natural disaster can thwart the plans and power of our God can bring peace to us because we know His character. To rest secure in the truth that this good and wise and loving Father is also the supreme ruler over every circumstance, every situation, every trial, every hurt, every wrong, every death, every loss, every pain, and every injustice is calming to us during tribulation. When you question it; simply affirm what the scriptures say, not what experience screams, nor what logic reasons. Submit to it, and love this quality about Him. Savor the sweet truth about your God. Don’t be bitter about past situations. There is only good in God’s actions in your life.