Sunday, July 08, 2007


We're studying the Old Testament book of Haggai this morning in Sunday School. In a nutshell, God sent Haggai to confront the Jewsish leaders (and people) who had returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile to rebuild the temple. They started the project, but when they encountered opposition from surrounding nations/groups, they abondoned the temple, focused on their on "home remodeling projects" and basically became content with their own lives.

Life for the returning exiles very quickly took a turn for the worse:

Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, "Consider your ways! "You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes." -- (Haggai 1:5-6)
No matter how hard they tried, their crops failed, they never had enough to eat, they couldn't stay warm, or save money. Even their futile activities -- drinking -- failed to bring them pleasure/success. Why? "...declares the LORD of hosts, 'Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.'" (Haggai 1:9)

You see, the exiles had been given a job to to: to rebuild the temple. Solomon's temple had been utterly destroyed during the final Babylonian envasion (586 BC). Now, God in His providence had caused Cyrus to issue a decree that the people should go back and rebuild the temple and the Holy City. But instead of returning and doing the job they had been called to, they spent their time fixing up their own houses! While they were ignoring the temple and focusing on themselves, things were going badly for them. They had disobeyed God and now, they were reaping the consequences of that disobedience.

It happens in my own life; God gives me a task and I don't complete it. Then I wonder why things aren't going my way. And just as it was with the exiles, the solution is simple: obey. Notice what happened when they were confronted with their sin, they repented and returned to the work they had been given:

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the LORD. Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke by the commission of the LORD to the people saying, " 'I am with you,' declares the LORD." (Haggai 1:12-13 )

God not only forgives, He gives me the ability to accomplish the task. He never gives me more to do than I can accomplish. The important thing to remember is that it is HIM working in me that finishes/completes the task. I can't do anything on my own. Just like the exiles, when I don't obey God and trust in Him to supply all I need (Philippians 4:13), "the labor of my hands" (Haggai 1:11) is in vain.

Has God given you a job that you've not completed? Obey. He will be with you. He will help you complete it.

1 comment:

Baxter said...

Thanks for this great encouragement. I think that might be one of the reasons the church remains "in ruins" to some extent, individually, we are content with our own personal lives and have neglected the "work".

BTW, I know you said you blog more to "vent", but I don't go to a lot of blogs, so I "tag" you again. If your interested I think you might like the questions. If you don't want to do it, it's okay. :)