Be Strong And Work
by Pastor Mark
July 07, 2017
Times of discouragement
When we are going through times of discouragement, what should our response be? In the rebuilding of the temple after the captivity of Israel, there was a time when the leaders and the remnant of Israel became discouraged. God spoke to the Prophet Haggai, “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying: “Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?” (Haggai 2:2–3) The rebuilding of the temple did not turn out as the people expected. It was not as glorious as Solomon’s temple. The leaders also were lacking in financial support for the building project. People were more interested in the building of their own homes. As a result, there was disappointment and discouragement.
A word of encouragement from the Lord
The Lord sought to give a word of encouragement to the leaders and to the remnant.
1. The challenge to be strong
“Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,” says the Lord; “and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,” says the Lord,” (Haggai 2:4)
The Lord’s word of encouragement to the leaders and to the people was “Be strong”. This was such an uplifting word. They needed to be strong to face the challenges ahead. They were to be strong, to rise from their discouragement and to move on. This challenge was repeated three times to the people at different levels. It was given to Zerubbabel the governor, Joshua, the high priest and all the people of the land. From the leaders to the people, they were encouraged to be strong. The Lord would be their strength. He was the source of their strength and they should rely on the Him for strength. Let us also be challenged to be strong.
2. Stay focused in the work
““and work;” (Haggai 2:4)
The Lord challenged the remnant to stay focus on their work. They should not be distracted by the circumstances that they found themselves in. They should continue with the work that they needed to do. They should persevere in the task that they had been called to do. Discouragement can draw us away from the task at hand. Let us be challenged to be strong and to keep focused on the work of the Lord.
3. The promise of His presence
“for I am with you,” says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:4)
The Lord gave a promise of His presence to the remnant. He was going to be with them through all the challenges ahead. He is the Lord of hosts…a reference to God being the Lord of the angelic host. The people did not need anyone else. The Lord would be on their side to help them. Let us be encouraged in knowing that the Lord’s presence is with us.
4. Assurance of the covenantal word
“‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!”” (Haggai 2:5)
The Lord’s promise is based on His covenantal word. The promise of His presence is according to the word that God covenanted with Moses…that He would be with him and Israel. The Holy Spirit will be there with the remnant and they should not fear in anyway. Let us be challenged to be assured of the promise of the Lord’s presence based on His word. Let us be challenged to be truly encouraged…to be strong and work as the Lord is with us.