Summary: God is in control. He keeps His promises. He is on our side. Will you trust Him?
We’ve finally come to the fourth and the last message of Haggai.
• This last message was delivered on the same day as the third. God spoke twice on this day.
• God speaks to address a need He sees. This time He came with a message specifically for the leader.
From the content of the message, we could guess that Zerubbabel was probably struggling to find the strength to go on, now a small nation surrounded by bigger and stronger neighbours. And God spoke.
We have seen, so far from this book that the remedy to discouragement is to hear the Word of God again.
• We need to hear the Word each time we feel down.
• In Chapter 1 we see that the spirit of the people was stirred by the Word of God.
• They were moved and motivated by the Spirit to do the work.
• They were sustained by the Word - God came with a second, and a third message, and now a fourth, for the leader.
To do the work of God for the long haul and complete the job, we need the Word from God. If we do not hear from Him, we will soon lose steam and die down.
• Think for a moment, when was the last time you did with enthusiasm, something for God, only to find that it lasted only for a short while?
• To start is easily, to persevere is another story altogether. Circumstances will change, problems mount, the initial enthusiasm dies down, and we got distracted by many other things.
In the Christian life, it’s not how you start but how you finish.
• A survey once showed that only 10% Christians who started serving in their early 20s were still in the ministry in their 60s. Most fall away from ministry due to discouragement, love for wealth and the things of this world, immorality and other reasons.
• Those who finish strong are the exceptions. Why? Because we are facing many strong odds – we are fighting against the devil, against our own flesh, and against the cares of this world.
It wasn’t easy for Zerubbabel. Under the circumstances, and in a leadership position, he felt the pressures and difficulties. Many probably would have quitted. God came with His timely message, specifically for him.
It is important that we hear Him. Encouragement will come from the Word of God.
• As children of God, we are equipped by God to deal with difficult times.
• God has the final word in every circumstance.
• We pray that we will always be inspired by the Word, to remain excited about the Word and be thrilled by what He says.
God wants Zerubbabel to look at what He WILL do. Look at the ‘I WILL…’
The first thing he needs to be reminded of is this: God Is in Control
How much of your life are you in control of?
• You can eat right and exercise well, but you cannot set the number of your days.
• When an illness strikes, you can do nothing to prevent it.
• Outcomes are not determined simply by the power of your own will.
We need to be reminded, and submit ourselves to the only One who is in control.
• Not just control, but absolute control of everything, including your life!
• Six times in this little paragraph God tells you He is in control. He says,
“I will shake the heavens and the earth;”
“I will overturn royal thrones,”
“I will shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms…”
“I will overthrow chariots and their drivers…”
“I will take you…” “I will make you like my signet ring… I have chosen you.”
• These are not foolish statements made by someone who likes to brag. They are promises made by the Sovereign God of the universe.
I want to share with you a passage I read 2 weeks ago - Acts 2:22-24
22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Wicked men thought they had the upper hand when Jesus was crucified.
• They were in fact played out by God. Their plot was absorbed within God’s plan.
• 2:23 “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose & foreknowledge.”