Who would have thought we’d be at part 4, and we’re still in the first chapter!?
We closed Part Three with encouragement to allow ourselves to submit to God’s will. And, if we’ll do that, He will “stir us up” and allow us to do great things. That both understanding and obeying God’s will for our lives will always bring action. God never moves without a purpose, and, along the way, God will “stir frequently.”
Make no mistake: To serve God, to submit to God, to do the work He has called us to do-it takes work. Hard work. And, it is work we must be willing to do. Then (in Haggai’s time), just like now, if God calls you to do a certain work, He will give you the strength and help to do that work to which He has called you. It is true that “where God guides, He provides.” And I have learned this over the years: God rarely calls us to do something that doesn’t require the help of others. God will always provide the people and resources to help you accomplish His goal. Once again, note the wording: It is His goal, His work we are called to do … not ours! Jesus said that “I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). True … if we are in the center of God’s will for our lives … just as Jesus was … “His business” will be “our business.”
Once again, what God calls us to do, He will give us the power to do. When God commands, He enables.
But, first, you must be willing to do the work. In Haggai 2:2, three times God says to “be strong.” As we see in this verse, God’s command applies not just to government and spiritual leaders, but “be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts.” So often, we want all that God has for us, but we aren’t willing to do the work which many of His blessings and promises require. My Pastor used to say that, often, we are more interested in what is in God’s hand than in what is in God’s heart.
Let’s look at this phrase, “promises of God:” If God makes you a promise, He never forgets that promise. Ever. In Haggai 2:5, God confirms that He is true to His Word-regardless of when, or how long ago, that promise was made: “According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not” (Haggai 2:5).
Please allow me to say again one of my most important teachings on the promises of God … and why it is ok for you to keep reminding God of them: It’s ok to keep reminding God of a promise He made to you, and here’s why: It’s not so that He won’t forget … It is so that you won’t forget!
If God has made a promise, yes He will “move Heaven and earth” to make that promise come true! Proof? The promises made to the Jews at the time of Haggai directly involved re-building the Temple in Jerusalem, with an eye toward the future. See, God’s direction is, yes for now, but it will always involve His will for the future. That’s why so many of the prophecies made by the Old Testament prophets were in 2 or 3 stages: Many involved the immediate future, the not-too distant future, and the distant future. God sees the future … that’s why we can so easily trust His Word and promises to us … about the “now.”
Back to God moving Heaven and earth: Here’s what God said in Haggai 2:6-7: “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once (once more), it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house (the Temple) with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Today, we touched on God’s promises. Next time, we’ll talk about God’s vision.
In closing, whenever I read God’s command for us to “Be strong,” always coupled with the fact that He will be with us, I think back to God’s promise to Joshua: “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage … Only be thou strong and very courageous … that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest … Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:5-9).
Just this week, I have seen these very words fulfilled in my life. God can be believed, and He can be trusted. I’ll leave you with this verse from Isaiah, which I saw fulfilled before my very eyes just a few days ago. A verse I held onto while going through a real test … a verse I trusted in … because I trusted in the One who made the promise:
“Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.”