By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
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.