Passage: Haggai 2:1-9
Speaker: Mitch Kim
It is easy to get caught up longing for the “good old days”; nostalgia gives rose-colored glasses. Especially when times are hard, we look back to when times were “better.’ In Haggai 2 the people of God were missing the “good old days.” They faced the daunting challenge to rebuild their lives after exile. Even as they began to rebuild the temple, the progress was so disappointing that people wept, recalling the former glory of the temple. Similarly as we seek to rebuild our lives after what has been taken from us in 2020, we can easily become overwhelmed at the work that is ahead of us. Yet as we face 2021, we can learn from Haggai that seeing with faith strengthens us to work by God’s promises.
First, it all begins with seeing with faith (Haggai 2:1–3). Rebuilding work is slow. Resources for the work are limited, and the temple did not compare even in the slightest to the temple that Solomon had built in the past. Further, this time was a time of festivals and holidays, hampering progress. As result, progress seemed “as nothing in your eyes” (2:3). However their eyes had to be retrained; they needed to see with faith. And faith comes by hearing God’s Word, so the word of the LORD comes through Haggai (2:1–2). Similarly when we find ourselves disappointed by what we see and limited progress before us, we must retrain our eyes to see with faith by listening to God’s Word.
As we see with faith, it strengthens us to work (Haggai 2:4–5). The LORD calls the leaders and people to “Be strong.” And this strength enables them to pick up the work without despair and work. Yet this work is simply “according tot he covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt” (2:4). This is the key; God’s promises would propel and move them forward. Similarly as we meditate on the promises of God, we are strengthened to work.
As we are strengthened to work with faith, we work by God’s promises (Haggai 2:6–9). The people could not fill the temple with the gold and silver that Solomon had in abundance, so they had to make do with little. Yet the Lord promises to fill this temple with glory. He promises, “The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former” (2:9). This comes true hundreds of years later when Herod undertook this building project so that the second temple gleamed with gold and beauty from a distance. Yet ultimately this points forward to Jesus, who fills the world with the glory of God’s presence. Similarly today, the glorious nature of God’s promises is far greater than all that we can ask for or imagine.
So what? We must not grow dismayed or discouraged by the apparent lack of progress that we see. Disappointment can destroy motivation, but we are propelled forward as we trust in Him.