Summary: In the midst of troubling times, Christians must possess and live by faith. God is calling us to examine our faith and stand, committed to Him.
Consider Your Faith
Haggai 2: 20-23
Today I hope to conclude our study in the book of Haggai. Although written some 2,500 years ago, it has been very relevant for our day. If there were any doubts, I hope our time in Haggai has confirmed the timeless nature of God’s Word within your heart and offered a new appreciation for its relevance, even as many seek to discredit it.
We have been challenged to consider our Ways, our LORD, and our Actions. In these final verses, God presents a final challenge to consider our Faith. In order to fully comprehend the words we have read, we must be reminded of the context. These had returned to Jerusalem after the long, seventy year captivity in Babylon. The city and Temple lay in ruins. There was much work to be done and the task ahead was daunting to say the least. The memories of captivity continued to fill their minds and plague them with fear. It is evident that many of them wondered if they would ever complete the task ahead, and even if the work was really worth the effort. To be honest, the people had grown discouraged and weary in the work. They needed a word of hope and assurance to encourage their efforts. The Lord wanted them to consider their faith. If they were depending solely on their own abilities and that of others, then they would not prevail. However, there was a strength and power behind them that knew no bounds!
Although the setting and challenges are much different, we too face an atmosphere of opposition. We have not experienced physical bondage, but the world around us seeks to defeat the work of the church and the witness of Christ. We have become a minority in an increasingly hostile world. The task ahead of us can seem overwhelming as well. Just as the people of old, we need a word of encouragement and assurance. We too need to consider our faith. We need reminded of the strength and power of the God we serve. We will surely fail if we are depending upon our own abilities, but with the help of the Lord, we can prevail.
As we conclude our study in Haggai, I want to consider the realities within the text as we think on the challenge to: Consider Your Faith.
I. A Pointed Message (20-21a) – As with the other messages, God clearly had a word for the people. He was not speaking just to make conversation or occupy Haggai’s time. He had a word that needed to be heard and heeded. Consider:
A. The Timing (20) – And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month…This word came on the same day as the previous message. God had challenged the people to consider their actions, their way of life, and during the same time there was a challenge to consider their faith. Changes needed to be made in their lives; and along with those changes, there needed to be a resurgence of faith. Living godly lives was necessary, but apart from faith they would never prevail. They needed to seek the Lord and His strength, not their own.
I think you would agree that we too need to consider our faith at this moment in time. Clearly there is a need for those who will consider their lives before the Lord and seek to remove anything that hinders our service to Him, but that alone isn’t enough. In fact, it will be impossible apart from faith and dependence on the Lord. The modern church has depended on the abilities of men and man-made programs to produce results far too long. I am thankful for the God given abilities we possess and I am not opposed to programs and activities within the church, but some-where in the process, we have left God out of the equation. Living a godly life is essential to accomplish the work we have been given, but we will never accomplish anything of lasting value in and of ourselves. We must seek the Lord, His wisdom and strength to overcome and thrive!
B. The Target (21a) – Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah…This message was specific to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah. The people remained under the authority of the Babylonians, and the governor’s power was limited, but he was regarded as a leader among the people. In fact, Zerubbabel was the grandson of Jehoiachin, next to the last king of Judah. While this message had application for all the people, it was given directly to Zerubbabel. If his faith was weak and lacking, the people would sense and know that, leading to a lack of faith among them.
This passage challenged me directly. We live in a time when most are unwilling to assume responsibility. Many are happy to take the credit for success, but are unwilling to assume responsibility for failure. Most leaders are happy to bark out directions and expectations, but would rather not be held accountable for results. Whether we like it or not, organizations rise and fall with leadership. I realize the church is not an organization; she is a living organism, the body of Christ, but the principle remains the same. If the leadership within the church is lacking in faith and desire, the church as a whole will be lacking as well. Those of us in leadership roles will give account to God for how we have led and the impact we have made. I cannot expect faith and commitment in the pew, if it is missing in the pulpit. Teachers, don’t expect it of those who listen to your lesson if it is lacking in your life!