Summary: Exposition of Haggai 2:1-9 about the discouragement in God’s people about the temple rebuilding project
Text: Haggai 2:1-9, Title: God’s Cure for Depression, Date/Place: NRBC, 3/11/07, AM
A. Opening illustration: Have you ever had one of those weeks where it seems like there is not enough time in a day to get it all done…where you forget who your spouse or family is because you don’t see them? And to top it off Murphy’s Law begins to become reality in every circumstance in your life? How about a month like that? And you feel like just giving up, crawling into bed, and sleeping for three weeks? Abe Lincoln--below
B. Background to passage: The date of this second prophecy of Haggai is Oct 17, 520 (a little over a month from the first message, and less than a month from the time that they began work again on the temple). It seems as though disc. and depr. had set in hindering or stopping the work. App: godly encouragement is needed for God’s people to do God’s work. The root of the discouragement was stress, fear, and embarrassment at the grandeur of this second temple compared to the first. Exp the seventh month. And so God confronts the problem directly of those who remember the former glory of the temple, and are stuck in one of those “I wish it could be like the good ol’ days” mentalities. Preach a little here about this methodology of handling problems and about this mentality, and the people who usually hold it, and goal not to recreate the past, but…. But even if it is not a mood like that that causes us discouragement and depression, we all wrestle with it. When we have great expectations and grand dreams, and they don’t turn out that way…when we are trapped in a relationship, marriage, or job that is not fulfilling…when everyone close to us is pulling away, moving, or leaving…when our children or grandchildren are not living up to God’s plan for their lives…when we try and try to get ahead financially, but just can’t seem to do it, we can all experience discouragement.
C. Main thought: In our text, God speaks to all you who are weakened from discouragement in two ways
A. A 3-step plan based on God’s presence (v. 4-5)
1. After bringing up the problem in the clearest of terms, saying that the sight of the temple is equal to nothing in the eyes of those who had seen the former temple, God gives them three things to do be begin to remedy their depression. And all of these things are based on God’s presence with them. Note the word “for” after the command to work. First He says to “be strong.” Note the repetition. Note “for I am with you.” In telling them this, He is not telling them to be strong in themselves, but to further rely on an outside source of strength. Secondly, He tells them the central command of this text, and of this book—work. God tells them to get to work. Work, for I am with you. He calls them to remember their purpose as a generation, what He has called them to do. Thirdly, he gives them a negative command, do not fear. They were afraid of other nations, of embarrassment, of lack of resources. Don’t fear, My Spirit is with you. This is esp imp. to the leaders. And he follows these with promises.