And the journey continues….. to the small book of Haggai in the Old Testament. Haggai was a prophet God sent to encourage and motivate the returning exiles to Jerusalem. The king in Babylon, King Cyrus, had released Jewish captives to return and rebuild the temple which was destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army had ransacked Jerusalem and carried many Jews to captivity in Babylon. The work to rebuild and restore the temple met with opposition and ground to a halt. When Darius the Great became king of Persia he renewed the efforts and at this time Haggai and Zechariah began to preach and encourage, motivate and pressure the Jews to get going with the restoration.
I am drawn to Haggai 2:4-5 “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. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’
Haggai is delivering a message of hope and courage from the Lord Almighty (El Shaddai, the All Sufficient One) that we too can take heed of and apply to our lives.
Here are some lessons and truths we can take away from this passage: 1. God promises to be with them, me and you, and He will never leave us or forsake us. That is a repeated promise throughout the Bible. I memorized Deuteronomy 31:6 and say it to remind myself of God’s presence with me at all times. 2. God is unchanging and eternal. What God promised and did when He delivered the children of Israel from the hands of Pharaoh in Egypt, He can and does still promise to for us as He sustains and helps us. 3. Fear does not come from God. His Holy Spirit is with us and will dispel our fears if we turn and focus upon Him. 4. I am to put my mind to the tasks God has given me and not waste time with fearful living. 5. God desires that I be strong and rely upon Him for my strength.
Haggai repeats over and over in this little book that God is God Almighty, the All-Sufficient One , who can be relied upon to carry us to victory. Where are you living in fear today? Haggai would say- get up, walk with God and trust Him to bring whatever you are afraid to face to completion. We need to remember His promises and move forward claiming His strength, courage, and hope as God will never leave you nor forsake you. God is Almighty!