The book of Haggai is a short two chapters – but wow! It’s like discovering a gold mine! As the remnant of Jews return from exile in Babylon to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, Haggai (“the Lord’s messenger”) is coach, quarterback and cheerleader rolled into one voice – God’s prophetic voice. He brings challenge, encouragement and inspiration.
We need the voice of the prophet when things get tough, don’t we? These people remind us that God is in the details, the troubles, the tough times, and the grind. When the work the Jews are doing to rebuild the temple gets some pushback from the opposing team and quits, Haggai gets out the megaphone.
First, he coaches: “Give careful thought to your ways…” In effect God is saying: Don’t listen to anyone shouting “QUIT!” Scripture points out the battle: “…peoples around them set out to discourage…make them afraid…work against them…frustrate their plans.” You know what that’s like, don’t you? The score is 40 to zip. What will you do? Will you give up? God knows the score. He knows you’re down. But, trust me, he knows how to lift you up, too!
Then Haggai calls the play: ”Go up into the mountains and bring down timber…” Sometimes when you don’t even know where to begin, you need a voice giving you the next step, you know? Just the next step! So he says, “Go up…” Up is always the right way when you need the throne of grace and mercy!
But then Haggai grabs the pompons and starts the cheer. “’I am with you!’ declares the Lord…Be strong… Be strong… Be strong…” (Haggai 1:13; 2:4) This is the encouragement we always receive when we go UP! And this is just what the people of Judah needed, too.
What follows is the verse that really starts my heart racing. “So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel…and the spirit of Joshua…and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people.” And guess what? “They came and began work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God.” After sixteen years of sitting on the bench, they were pumped to get in the game again. “So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet…” (Ezra 6:14)
Do you see the pattern in this story? The sequence? Here’s how it charts in my playbook:
No matter how long it has been or how far away you are,
Turn BACK to God in repentance;
Go RIGHT to Him in prayer;
Catch the PASS of God’s Spirit (believe);
Go on mission and SCORE!
It’s the pattern found over and over in scripture, isn’t it? So, don’t wait! Get in the game!!