Call for Encouragement
A Call for Encouragement
Roger Anderson notes, “Some days you’re the pigeon; and some days you’re the statue”
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” (President Calvin Coolidge)
Billy Graham said, “If people are kicking you in the behind, at least you are in front of them”
The key is, we all need encouraging! Haggai had given his first word August 29, and now, here it is October 17. He is now giving them another word from the Lord. This was the last day of the feast of Tabernacles, and the Temple progress had once again been interrupted, but this time by the holy days of the seventh month.
The purpose of this oracle was to boost the morale of the builders and strengthen them in their resolve to complete the task. He did this in two ways:
I. Call of Encouragement-Vs 1-5
a) Deal with discouragement--- vs3—this word presupposes that some who were there had seen the first temple. That temple had been destroyed some 66 years earlier.
“First glory”- refers to the way that the structure appeared before the destruction of Jerusalem. The temple had been refurbished several times, sacked, stripped even before 586 B.C. It was an architectural masterpiece.
According to Ezra 3:12-13, many wept at the contrast. Remember, the sacred fire, Shekinah, ark and Cherubim, Urim and Thummin and spirit of prophecy were in the temple. In their eyes, it deemed to be inferior.
b) Encouragement for Steadfastness- vs4
--“Be strong”—this word was spoken to all.
--“Work”- he gives them a positive action. An optimistic word is always a good antidote for timidity and pessimism.
--“For I am with you”- the personal presence of the Lord always gives us encouragement and determination. It is through Him that we can do all things.
c) Encouragement for Fearlessness-vs5-
“Fear not”—According to Exodus 19:5-6, God told them “If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my commandment, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation.”
He reminds them of the covenant, literally “to cut”, cut in ratification of the covenant, alluding to the sacrificial victims cut.
“My spirit remaineth with you”- It was God strengthening them for the work.
II. Look to the Future—Vs6-9
a) Prepare for the Messiah—vs6-7b
-“Yet once” or again—there will be another shaking of heaven and earth. Only once more will this happen according to Hebrews 12:26. At Sinai there was a literal shaking. Only one mountain shook at Sinai. What about the advent and ministry of Christ? The stars, angels, darkness at noon when He died on the Cross, the earthquake at His resurrection. All of the world was shaken when Jesus came.
b) Results of the Messiah’s Coming-7b-9
-Filling of the house—Remember how the people were discouraged in vs3, and remember what was missing. Look now at what God is telling them. He will fill the house with “Glory”.
Glory can refer to material splendor or the presence of God. The promise being made is that Yahweh would fill the house with the presence of Christ in the Temple. When Jesus was brought to the Temple by Joseph and Mary, the aged Simeon praised God that his eyes had been permitted to see the “Glory of your people Israel”(Luke 2:32).
Vs8—“silver is mine and gold is mine”—some of the people were discouraged because the building was not as ornate as the temple of their forefathers. In essence, God is telling them not to worry about that. All the earth’s riches already belonged to the Lord. More important than gold and silver is the obedient, loving service of His people. If He wanted, He could adorn the temple with gold and silver, but He chooses to adorn it with His glory.
--Glory of the House- Vs9—This is speaking of the Messianic Temple, the Church of Christ. This temple was but a shadow of the Spiritual temple in the NT—one built up of living stones, precious stones which obey Jesus. The Messianic Temple is superior to the material Temple in its worship, builder, dimensions, materials, influence and duration.
--Peace—vs9b—this relates to Christ’s kingdom.
III. Be Encouraged-
-Be steadfast—we must Press On!! Winston Churchill, near the end of his distinguished career, was asked to return to and speak at his old school, Harrow. The headmaster had been preparing the students to listen to Churchill's every word because, he said, ''In a few days the greatest orator of our time--perhaps of all time-- will address you.'' The day finally arrived, and after the school's fanfare and acclamation Sir Winston stood to his feet, acknowledged the introduction, and gave the following address,
''Young men, never give up.
Never give up!
Never give up!
Never, never, never--never--never!''
That was his speech, in it's entirety! I think Churchill would speak the same words to us today. Maybe we should listen again and heed his challenge. ''...Never give up! Never, never, never--never--never!'' Paul stated it in I Corinthians 15:58, ''...Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.'
“Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ”(1Peter 2:5).
There may be some day we feel like a statue and some days we may be the pigeon. I encourage you to keep focused on Jesus Christ.
A Call for Encouragement
I. Call of Encouragement-
a) Deal with discouragement
b) Encouragement for Steadfastness
c) Encouragement for Fearlessness-
II. Look to the Future
III. Be Encouraged