I was okay, conceptually, with accompanying my pregnant wife to her first Lamaze class to learn about childbirth. How hard could it be to watch a video, read the pamphlet, and practice breathing? Little did I know that my role was to be her coach, encourager, protector, and communicator during her labor pains. After our daughter’s birth, I was surprised when my wife shared that my presence reassured and helped her endure that day by knowing she was not alone.
- To whom do you turn for encouragement and help in times of difficulty?
READ THE WORD: HAGGAI 1:13-15 (ESV)
13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord’s message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.” 14 And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- In the previous passage, Haggai reported that the Israelites obeyed the voice of God. What encouragement did God give to support and sustain them (vs. 13)?
- The Lord stirred up the spirits of Zerubbabel, their political leader, Joshua, their spiritual leader, and the whole remnant of the people. Who then responded to God’s call to rebuild his house (vs. 14)? Why is this significant?
- By implication, what work did the Israelites set aside when they restarted the building of the house of the Lord (see Haggai 1:9)? How had their priorities changed?
- How have you responded privately and publicly (with God’s people, the church) to God’s encouragement and stirring of your spirit? How does knowing God is with you change your perspective on what he calls you to do?
RESPOND TO GOD
Aware of their tendencies to become distracted by the world and to ignore his commands, God lovingly encouraged the Israelites at their point of repentance and obedience. Through his messenger Haggai, he reassured them he was with them. This was a watershed event for the returning exiles and reinvigorated their spiritual dependence on him. Knowing they were not alone, the Israelites, individually and as a community, recommitted themselves to his work for his honor and glory. This week, seek and acknowledge God’s encouragement and his stirring of your spirit to be engaged in his work. Prayerfully consider following his lead.
- Thank God that he continues to love and call us back to him when we ignore his commands and priorities.