Summary: As we seek to serve the Lord, we must see Him as He is and stand in awe of Him.
Consider Your LORD
Haggai 2: 1-9
In our text today we find a similar introduction to that of Chapter One. It has been about a month since the Lord stirred up the people and the work began in earnest on the Temple. The Lord speaks again to the people during the annual Feast of Tabernacles, a feast where the people dwelt in temporary booths, commemorating the faithfulness of God during the wilderness wanderings. It was also a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the autumn harvest.
We have no way of knowing how much work had been completed on the Temple in the span of a month, but it is likely enough had been accomplished to notice. Probably enough had been done to give the people a general idea of what the Temple would look like once it was completed. It was during this time of commitment and effort that discouragement began to set in for some of the people. Their focus had been diverted from the Lord unto the daunting task that lay ahead. Offering a word from the Lord, Haggai challenged them to focus on God instead of the getting caught up in discouragement and losing faith.
There is no doubt, we too face a daunting task. In fact, we are responsible to accomplish more than we can possibly do alone. If we focus solely on the task ahead, dwelling on the number of people needed and resources required, we will grow discouraged as well. We will never accomplish the work of the Lord in our abilities, but through Him we can. Let’s examine the directives Haggai offers as we think on the challenge: Consider Your LORD.
I. A Call for Resilience (1-4) – Although discouragement was beginning to mount, the people needed to find a way to overcome and continue the work. Consider:
A. The Consideration (2-3) – Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying,  Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Apparently there were those who were old enough to remember Solomon’s Temple. It was a grand spectacle, the pride of all Israel. Those who remembered it had grown discouraged at the meager means of the new Temple and were sowing seeds of discord. In their minds it was a futile effort. This one would never measure up and they saw little value in pressing ahead. In essence, they chose to live in the past, and refused to embrace the work necessary for the future.
We too face the same consideration. Many of us remember the glorious days of old. We remember a time when attendance was up, visitors were common, and things ran like clockwork. Now our baptisteries are dry, folks aren’t showing up as before, and many consider the church outdated and irrelevant. Now, we can live in the past, sulking in our discouragement, or we can embrace the challenges and press forward in the work.
Those days are gone, and I don’t believe they are coming back. We must never change our message, but we may have to seek new methods. Churches that continue to argue, “We’ve never done it that way before,” will die a slow death. We must find new ways to engage our culture and communicate the Gospel message. We are not building a physical temple, but we are called to continue building and expanding the spiritual one!
B. The Expectation (4a) – Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work. Haggai reveals the profound expectation God had for His people. He fully expected them to remain resilient in the work. They were charged to be strong while getting to work. God simply wanted them to be diligent in their endeavors, remaining faithful to the work He had given them.
I know this is a deep theological truth that is hard to grasp, but God just wants His people to get busy. We have analyzed the situation long enough. We are well aware of the problems we face and the difficulties involved in fulfilling our calling, but that doesn’t release us of our obligations. It is time for the church of Christ to rise up and get busy! (Notice this expectation wasn’t reserved for the governor and high priest alone; it included all the people of the land. None were exempt from this expectation. Things haven’t changed; we are all responsible to work!)
C. The Confirmation (4b) – for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts. Haggai never said the task would be simple or easy. He never told them it wouldn’t require commitment and great effort. He did relay that the Lord promised to be with them. What else could they possibly ask for or need? If God was in their midst, He would equip them to fulfill the task ahead.