Saturday 27 September 2014

Bible Book:

“Take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear.” (vv. 4b-5)

Haggai 1:15 - 2:9 Saturday 27 September 2014


Haggai was prophesying around 600BC. Some of the Israelites hadreturned from exile in Babylon and had been granted permission torebuild the temple, the symbol of their religious identity, and theholy place, where God's presence with his people resided withgreatest intensity.

Haggai has received a word of prophecy from God to exhort thereturning exiles to stop their delay in the temple rebuilding. Theyneeded to show their thankfulness to God for the return to exile,and to remember who they were as a people.

In today's passage Haggai's word from the Lord, came to boththose representing both political and religious power in Judah, tothe governor Zerubbabel and to Joshua the high priest.

Haggai challenged Judah to look at sad sight of the temple inits present state, compared to its former glorious sight before theexile. He asked a question from God as to who can remember thetemple in its former glory and how it compares with the sight ofnothing now (verse 3).

Haggai then speaks the word of God into their discouragement asa people, trying to pick up the pieces after the disarray of exile.It is time to take courage and build. It is time to stop beingafraid.

God's spirit resides with them. Haggai reminds them of God'spromises of old when he brought them out of slavery in Egypt andinto freedom in the Promised Land (verse 5). In a little while Godwill show his power in the heavens and on earth (verse 7). Silverand gold belong to God (verse 8), and the rebuilt temple will beeven more splendid than the temple of old. God will bring themprosperity in this place (verse 9).

Psalm 23 picks up the theme of God being withus in troubled times. It is a pray of reassurance, a call to stopbeing afraid and a call to trust. God has our welfare in hand, evenwhen enemies oppress us (verse5).

To Ponder

  • When you think of yourself as part of a community, (for exampleyour church or neighbourhood) or as part of a nation (England,Scotland, Wales, the Islands) what might make you afraid?
  • What is the difference between burying your head in the sandand pretending all is well, and taking courage to build togetherbelieving that God has plans for your prosperity and not disaster?How can you tell which is which?
  • How do you conquer and move through fear?
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