Week 45 When God Gives Us Our Marching Orders

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

Week 45

Scripture Readings: Haggai

Key Scripture Verses: “’But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Haggai was a prophet sent by God to give this message to have the people complete the temple. Solomon’s temple had been destroyed 66 years before this and they were rebuilding it, but the work had slowed. In 538 B.C. when the Jews were attempting to rebuild the temple, they had to stop because they were stopped because of oppression from their enemies. But 15 years later, they had not done any more work on the temple, even though they could have. And God was telling them it was time to rebuild it.

God noted that the people were living in luxuy “in their paneled homes,” but were neglecting his house of worship. He provided the materials and they had the skill, time, and ability to complete the task at this time to complete the temple, and he instructed them to get to work.

And he told them he was with them and would support them in the effort.

When God gives us specific work to do, we should be careful to listen and to heed his call.

We don’t always know what God wants us to be doing, but when he makes it clear, we need to get our priorities in order. He was telling them that this was a priority and it was time to get his house in order, to complete the temple, and to use it for its intended purpose—for worship and his glorification.

God will show us the way and provide the resources. And when he opens windows and doors for us to go through and paves the way for us to follow him, we will be happiest to follow his divine instruction.

All of us have God’s work to do. For some of us, it is caring for his people. For others, it is providing labor or tools to get the job done. We are expected to work together as believers to do his will.

And we should not be afraid to use the resources he provides us. We will be blessed further for doing what he requires. He wants to shower us with his favor, but he requires our obedience, because it is through us that he effects his purpose.

I often think about what God is asking me to do. I wonder if I have my priorities straight. When I doubt, I pray for his discernment. Sometimes he clearly closes some doors and opens others to help me understand what’s next.

May he bless us with discernment and a willingness to do his work. May the glory be his.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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