We can be so quick to wonder where God is during difficult times. Yet there are times, we bring those difficulties upon ourselves through our own willful disobedience. This is where we found the people as we began the week in Ezra 5:11-17.
“But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he abandoned them to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who destroyed this Temple and exiled the people to Babylonia.”
(verse 12, NLT)
This paragraph from the study struck powerfully:
“The Jewish elders here recognized that God had not been dethroned. Their people’s idolatry and disobedience had resulted in their exile. The siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple were not the end of God’s plan for His people. Rather, this was one step in their restoration. In the books of Ezra and Haggai, we see that the Lord called His exiled people to return to Him in obedience and worship, rebuilding the temple where He dwelt among them.” (The Dwelling Place of God, page 24)
Sometimes the Lord’s discipline is the very means by which He brings restoration.
May we take an introspective look at our hearts and lives, asking the Lord to show us where He may be desiring to rebuild our lives.
Discouragement – it can come upon us so quickly, that at times, we can hardly notice its appearance until it is fully with us.
And this is what happened to the people as they worked on the Temple. In Haggai 2:1-9, they began to compare the new building with the old, and in their eyes, the new did not come up to their expectations. The old Temple had a grandeur which the new did not.
The Lord Himself encouraged the people – “Be strong!” “Get to work!” “My Spirit remains among you.” “Don’t be afraid.”
Can you hear Him saying these very same words to each of one of us?
Haggai’s words were not meant as a rebuke, but to encourage. Look at verse 5:
“My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.” (NLT)
Haggai used Old Testament words which reflected God’s covenant with the people. His covenant relationship with them. He was reminding them that God’s Presence had been promised to them – both to be with them and to rescue them.
The beauty of this promise is that it has also been given to us as New Testament believers – “And be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”
(Matthew 28:20, NLT).
What has He put before you to do or accomplish during this season?
May you not be discouraged but be encouraged for He is with you in all He calls you to do.
We closed out the week and began our long weekend with reading Haggai 2:20-23. Here we find the Lord speaking:
“I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will make you like a signet ring on my finger, says the Lord, for I have chosen you. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!” (verse 23, NLT)
Can you hear those words being spoken over you?
God has chosen each of us, and He is committed to each of our lives. Have you thought about that lately?
Let those words sink in: God has chosen you!
May we not become discouraged,
but ask the Lord where He is seeking to rebuild our lives –
for He loves us and has chosen us, for His purposes.