Summary: No matter how bad we’d like to, we can’t undo the past. God is all-powerful but there are some things He won’t do. He will not change the past. But he’ll do something even better. Even though He won’t change the past, He will give you a fresh start for th
Do you ever wish you could just start over? Staples has made a fortune with their easy button commercials. It would be nice if there was such a thing as an easy button, but you know what I’d rather have? I’d rather have an undo button. Can you imagine having a button that allowed you to undo anything that you’ve messed up? Messed up that project—undo. Messed up that relationship—undo. Messed up that good intention—undo. That would be nice. But unfortunately, we all know there’s no such thing as an undo button in life. Once we do something, it’s done. No matter how bad we’d like to, we can’t undo the past. God is all-powerful—He can do anything. But there are some things He won’t do—and that’s one of them. He will not change the past. But even though the Lord won’t change the past, do you know what He will do? He’ll do something even better. Even though He won’t change the past, He will give you a fresh start for the future. He did it for the remnant in our passage this morning, and He’ll do it for us as a church and He’ll do it for you. Back up to verse 10 to see where we are.
That’s another one of Haggai’s time stamps that he gives us. What that tells us is that it has been almost exactly three months since they had started working on the temple. You remember that the remnant had returned to Jerusalem after 70 years of exile in Babylon and Medo-Persia. And when God allowed them to return to their land, He commanded that they rebuild the city—starting with the temple. They got started right away, but all they got done was the foundation and the altar. And then they quit for 16 years. After 16 years of doing nothing, God sent Haggai and Zechariah to remind them of what they were supposed to be doing. And to their credit, they listened. They listened and got busy rebuilding the temple. But here it was, three months later, and there was a problem. Things weren’t going as well as they seemed. Oh sure, there was some work being done. There was some building going on. But there was a problem. The people had the wrong attitude. They hadn’t really changed. They were working hard like they always did, but their hearts were in the wrong place. Stones were being laid upon one another, but lives were still in ruins. Remember back in chapter 1 what their problem was. The people were basically self-centered. They were more focused on their personal wants and needs and desires than they were with the Lord’s desires. They were more concerned with what was going on in their day-to-day lives than they were with glorifying God. They were so focused on their relationships with their own families and friends that they had completely neglected their relationship with God. And, three months later… even though they had started rebuilding the temple… they still had those same problems. And in our passage this morning, Haggai shows them that. But more than that, he shows them how God wants to give them a fresh start. Don’t quit what you’re doing. You can’t go back and change the past. What you can do is start fresh from where you are. Verse 18 that we started off reading starts with the words, “Consider now from this day and upward.” In other words the Lord is saying, “I don’t care what brought you to this point today.” “It doesn’t matter what brought you here or what has happened in your life up until this point.” “That is the past, and you can’t change the past.” “There is no undo button.” “But today is a new day.” “Today can be the start of a brand-new beginning for you.” “It can be a fresh start.” Just like the day that Haggai spoke these words to the remnant, this can be a new day for our church. This can be a new day for you personally. Are you ready to make that fresh start this morning? Are you ready for us as a church to make that fresh start this morning? If you are, then it’s going to require us to do three things. First, a fresh start requires a fresh look at where we are. Look at verses 11-14: