Keeping It Real – Your Work Is Part Of His Plan

 
 
 

Take courage, work, fear not

In 538 BC Cyrus, the Persian King, allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, therefore fulfilling the prophecies of Jeremiah (Ezra 1:1). Among the returning exiles was Haggai, the prophet.

Interestingly, the rebuilding of the temple did not start until about 18 years after the people returned. During this delay, four messages was given by God through Haggai to the returned exiles.

The way Haggai motivated the Jews to build the temple of God has a powerful application to our own efforts to build the church of God.

Neglecting the temple of God = indifference to the glory of God

The first message finds the exiles living in perpetual frustration and discontentment where nothing satisfied them because they made their own lives comfortable while neglecting the temple of God. (Haggai 1). The real problem however, was not the neglect of a building, but indifference to the glory of God.

God had a cure for their frustration, the same cure that is relevant for the church today:  “Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may appear in my glory, says the Lord.” Haggai 1:8

The temple of the Old Testament existed for the glory of God. And the church today exists for the glory of God (Ephesians 1:1-14).  Indifference to the growth and spiritual prosperity of the church and its mission is always a sign of failure to love the glory of God.

After 18 years of neglect and frustration, the people began to  “seek the kingdom first, and all these other things will be added” (Matt 6), and responded in obedience.

Half-hearted obedience

Things had not gone well since the first message from Haggai.  The attitude of the people was that mere contact with the temple makes them clean in God’s sight, but in truth the holiness of the temple was not rubbing off on them – their sin was desecrating the temple. Haggai 2: 11–14.

A discouraged people

The work had slowed.  The workers are discouraged because when they looked at the temple they were building and compared it to the glory of Solomon’s temple, it seemed so insignificant and daggy. “What’s the use”, they said. “We can’t match the glory of Solomon’s temple. We’re wasting our time”. Haggai 2:3

Take courage, work, fear not

If you are feeling that the work you do is trivial, this message from Haggai is tailor-made for your heart today. God gives a heartening command in verse 4:  “Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work ……fear not.” Haggai 2:4-5

Your role is to work in whole hearted obedience to God. God has the plan. He has worked out the means of execution and the resources necessary to accomplish His plan.  You are a part of the means and the resources, and He has a great plan for your life if you would walk in it.

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Make it relevant

  1. Am I reflecting the glory of God?
  2. What am I building and for whom?
  3. Do I build in whole hearted obedience?
  4. In what ways am I the means and resources for God’s plan?

Paul Zanardo