I have been spending a lot of time in the book of Haggai (ESV) over the last several weeks, reading it in several different versions of the Bible, studying some of the words in Hebrew and asking the Lord to bring revelation. What is HE saying? What does it mean for Women of the Word? Here are some things I gleaned:
- It’s good to “Give careful thought to your ways” (Haggai 1:4 & 7 NIV). Am I changing more into the image of Jesus? Do I reflect His likeness to others more than I did a year ago? Is the fruit of the Spirit evident in my life? If not, I must sincerely take time before the Lord and ask Him to examine my heart and motives and be willing to make adjustments as He directs.
- Obey the voice of the Lord and fear (reverence) the Lord (Haggai 1:12). Obedience results in blessing and peace. It also affects others because nothing happens in a vacuum. The Body of Christ is a community.
- Know that God is with us (Haggai 1:13, Haggai 1:4 & 5). Jesus echoed this when He said “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
- The Lord STIRRED (ESV) up the spirit of Zerubbabel (governor), Joshua (high priest), and all the remnant of the people (Haggai 1:14). In the NLT the word stirred is translated SPARKED! It means to arouse and awaken. Are you catching what God is doing? He is working on three levels: governmentally, in the Church, and among the people. HE is doing this in 2018!
- Three times the Lord says “Be strong” (Haggai 2:4). He says it to Zerubbabel (governor of Judah), Joshua (the high priest), and the people. He’s not just saying it to the leaders! HELLO! Please hear me. He’s saying it to YOU and me!
- We tend to look back at the “former glory” or the “glory days.” The book of Haggai is about the Jewish people returning from exile in Babylon. They are attempting to rebuild the destroyed temple of Solomon. But they become disinterested, discouraged and dissastified. They were more interested in building their own houses rather than the house of the Lord. Once they did start building they became discouraged because it was taking a long time and they had to fight against enemy interference. The older generation who had seen the First Temple was dissastified with the Second Temple because it didn’t have the splendor of Solomon’s temple. For us this means we must stop looking at what “church” or “the ministry” looked like in the past. We judge by our eyes. God is interested in building a dwelling place for Himself within us (individually and corporately). Let’s stop looking at the “former glory” (Haggai 2:3). He promises that that the future glory will be greater than the past (Haggai 2:9). For baby-boomers, like me, that tells me I ought to be encouraging and mentoring the millenials and future generations to live authentically and passionately for God.
- God is shaking the heavens and the earth (all nations), but He has all resources at His disposal to build His dwelling place among men (Haggai 2:6 – 9).
- God has made an everlasting covenant of peace with us, His dwelling place, and He affirms it again (Haggai 2:9).
- If I were to summarize these OT verses in NT terms, I would say “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Jesus tells us 6 times in this chapter “do not be anxious.” Anxiety is rampant in the world and in the church. We must actively live out “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV) Then we can expect that the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 ESV)
As a result of studying the book of Haggai (ESV) I’ve made some decisions. I will NOT be disinterested, disfocused, discouraged, nor dissastified. I will NOT give into anxiety. I will seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and I will get to work building the dwelling place of the Lord in myself, the church and in Women of the Word in whatever ways He shows me. Will you join me?