One of my favorite inspirational speeches comes from the movie Remember the Titans. In an eerie scene at dawn, Coach Boone stands with his racially-divided football team on the Battlefield of Gettysburg. He exhorts his players to learn their lesson from the past and move forward as a united team. In today’s passage, there’s also a team (a governor, the high priest, and a multitude of Israelites) and a cause at stake (the rebuilding of God’s dwelling place among the nation of Israel). And in one of the best biblical speeches of all time, the God of the entire universe rallies his people to take confidence and press on.
- When was the last time you felt encouraged by God?
READ THE WORD: HAGGAI 2:1-5 (ESV)
2:1 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? 4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, 5 according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What three questions did God have for the remnant of people who had returned to reconstruct the temple (vs. 3)? The former temple, built by Solomon and known for its impressive splendor, had been destroyed only 66 years earlier. Knowing this, what do you think the point was in this line of questioning? What was being acknowledged about the status of the temple?
- What was the command given by God three times in verse 4? What were the other two commands God gave (vss. 4-5)?
- What reassurances did God give the people (vs. 4-5)? Why was it important for the people to be reminded of these things?
- Think about an area of your life where God has called you to be obedient. Where do you need to be strong, keep working, and fear not?
RESPOND TO GOD
Almost one month had passed since restorative work on the temple commenced. Those who had heeded the call to build faced a monumental task, and surely some discouragement had set in. Through Haggai, God affirmed the obvious: no, the reconstruction wasn’t as glorious as Solomon’s temple. However, he also stated the important: his presence was still with them. It was a dose of God-breathed motivation and the needed encouragement for his people to complete the job at hand. What work has God asked you to do? Are you being faithful to his call?
- Ask for encouragement from the Lord: Please help me be strong, work hard, and not be afraid. Let me feel the closeness of your presence today.