A Call to Courage (Haggai 2:1-9)

After receiving a good whooping by Haggai he now calls us to courage. We have been called to come out of our spiritual complacency and to once again build and strengthen the house of the Lord. Now, attention must be given to how we do that. “As in the first sermon, there is stress on the divine origin of Haggai’s prophetic word. His message is presented as “the word of the Lord” (dĕbar YHWH), even though it was given “through” (bĕyad, “by the hand of”) Haggai. Although Haggai was the conduit through which the message would flow, the message was ultimately sourced in God himself.”[1] This message from the Lord has to do with how we can have the courage to awake from our sleep and get involved in the work of the Lord.

Reflect on what God has done in the past (v. 3). The Pulpit Commentary says,It is quite possible that there should be some old people present who had seen Solomon’s temple. Many have thought that Haggai himself was of the number. It was sixty-eight years ago that the temple was destroyed, and we can well believe that its remarkable features were deeply impressed on the minds of those who as boys or youths had loved and admired it.”[2] Perhaps some of you today remember days of the past when God moved and worked amongst us in miraculous ways. Some of you remember days of revival. Some of you remember times in your own life when you were on fire for Jesus and God did a great work in and through you. The key to waking up from our spiritual slumber is to remember the glory days and long to return to those times when the Spirit of God moved in a very special way.

Focus on what God can do today (v. 4). As we reflect on what God has done in the past, we should let those memories serve as a reminder that if God can do great things back then; He can certainly do great things today. In verse 4, the Lord says: “Yet now be strong.” We need to be strong today. We need to allow God to do His work today. Don’t stay asleep dreaming of the glory days, experience the glory days today. Get in on what God is doing and what He desires to do in your life. Lange’s Commentary on the Scriptures says, “The depressing tendency of the present circumstances was admitted; but this was no reason why the people should repine. In the first place, they might plead with perfect confidence the gracious promise which they had a little before so joyfully received (ch. 1:13). And if God was indeed with them, not only would the possession of his favor and the enjoyment of his presence compensate for all past distresses, and be all-sufficient for the new and untried future, but his help, his working with them, would establish the work of their hands, and in his strength they would be strong.”[3] You see, we can see God do great and mighty things amongst us today if we would just surrender ourselves to Him and allow His Spirit to work in and through us. God is at work today. We need to open our eyes and see how God is working and get involved that work.

Commit to the work (v. 4). We are not only called to be strong, but we are also called to work. Commitment is a word that we tend to shy away from. We do not want to tie ourselves down. We do not want to make any promises. We don’t want to commit to anything. This, I am afraid, is an epidemic in churches across America. It is very hard to find good quality people who are willing to commit themselves to the work of the church. However, think about God’s commitment to us. When it comes to God, He is all in. He is determined to do a work in us and in this world. He is committed to you. He will always be with you. He will continue to work on you to make you what He desires for you to be. If God is so committed to us, why is it so hard for us to commit our ways to Him? Why is it so hard for us to get involved? Why is it so hard for us to commit to the work? Sadly, in most every church less than 10% of the people in the church do all the work. In many churches it is the other 90% that complains the most. Maybe if you stopped focusing on yourself and on your own comfort and you get involved in what God is doing then you want have anything to complain about. Think about it. When is the last time you committed to anything? When is the last time you said, ‘yes’? Now, granted, there are some that find themselves doing too much and they need to learn to say, ‘no’. However, the vast majority of people in churches today have never said ‘yes’ to anything. Child of God, it’s time to say ‘yes’. It is time for us to do as the people did in Haggai’s day and commit to the work.

Rest in the presence of the Lord (v.4-5). In order to have courage, not only must we reflect on what God has done in the past, focus on what God can do today, commit to the work; but, we also must rest in the presence of the Lord. God will never call you to do anything without giving you the preparation that you need. God will never call you to do anything and then just abandon you and leave you on your own. Haggai told the people that God would be with them. As they set out to do the work of rebuilding the temple, they need not fear or worry, because God would be with them. You and I have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is with us to comfort us and to empower us. You can tell your neighbor about Jesus because the Spirit of God is with you. You can be a part of the work of the church because the Spirit of God is with you. You can teach your children the things of God because the Spirit of God is with you. Don’t dwell on your inabilities, rest in the presence of the Lord and He will empower you to serve Him.

Hope in the glory of the Lord (v. 6-9). The final step to having the courage we need to answer the call to build and strengthen the house of the Lord is to hope in the glory of the Lord. Verses 6-9 describes God’s desire to send revival. God wants to do greater things in your life today and in the life of our church than He has ever done before. We don’t have to sit around and reflect on the glory days of the past, we can experience the glory of God today. To hope is to have a confident expectation. Do you confidently expect God to do great things in your life? Do you confidently expect God to do great things in our church?

Courage to answer God’s call is something that we all need. Let us consider what we must do to have that courage. Don’t stay in your spiritual complacency. Answer God’s call to courage today.

[1] Taylor, R. A., & Clendenen, E. R. (2004). Haggai, Malachi (Vol. 21A, pp. 148–149). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Haggai (p. 19). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[3] Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., & McCurdy, J. F. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Haggai (p. 14). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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