Legacy (Part 2)

In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet: “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’” (Haggai 2:1-8 ESV). As we continue, let’s look more closely at the second message of Haggai. It seems as though the work has slowed or come to a complete stop, because Haggai’s message is that they take courage and get on with the work (v. 4). What makes this message so practical and relevant is that we can see ourselves so easily in the workers. And God’s encouraging words become very easily words of strength for us, too. The discouragement is palpable, as it often is in our lives. The workers are discouraged because the memory is still alive of how glorious the temple used to be. Less than 70 years ago it stood in this very spot, the apple of God’s eye, the magnificent achievement of Solomon, for centuries the center of holy worship. But instead of inspiring the people, this memory made the people look at the pitiful edifice they were building and feel hopeless. What’s the use, they say. We can’t match the glory of Solomon’s temple. We’re wasting our time. Nothing beautiful or worthwhile will ever come of it. We got along without it in Babylon; we can do without it here. Better to have the beauty of a great memory than a paltry imitation. So their hands are slack in the work.  I think anybody who has ever lived through faith in Christ has felt that kind of discouragement. It is that sense that you work and work and the product seems so paltry. You pour yourself into your children or others week after week and month after month and the result seems to be so minimal. Worse, you look back in history or across town and see the grand achievement of others and your work seems so trivial. We get discouraged and are tempted to quit and put away your aspirations and drop your dreams and put your feet up in front of the television and coast. But God promises to take your work, fill it with his glory, and make your labors with a million times more than you ever imagined. Take...

read more