Saturday, May 4, 2013

Be Strong!

4 But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 5 My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid. Haggai 2:4-5 (NLT).

Several times God through the prophet Haggai encouraged the people to "be strong . . . and work. For I [God] am with you." God had sent the prophet Haggai to motivate the Israelites (the Jews) to rebuild God’s Temple and return to wholeheartedly following God. At that time, the people neglected God and God’s work and pursued a comfortable lifestyle for themselves (Haggai 1:6–9). Haggai encouraged the people to be courageous, strong, and brave and to seek God and God’s work first (see also Zechariah 8:9; Colossian 3:17). In response, the Israelites resumed rebuilding God’s Temple (Haggai 1:14-15) and the Temple was completed in March 12, 516 BC (see Ezra 6:15).

Haggai reflects other passages of Scripture that encouraged God’s people to be strong, brave, and courageous for the Lord God is with us. King David used these words in 1 Chronicles 28:20, 28 when he encouraged his son Solomon to build the first Temple. The Lord God encouraged Joshua and Israel with similar words in Joshua 1:6-7, 9, 18 and Joshua 10:25 as they conquered and captured the Promised Land of God. Moreover, God used these words to Hezekiah’s military officers (2 Chronicles 32:7). So, the same God that helped Joshua and Solomon would also help Zerubbabel, the Israelites and God’s people today to do God’s work.

God’s Holy Spirit goes with us as we humbly obey and trust God and God’s Word. In fact, God is always with those who walk with truth, faith, humility, courage, and love (see also Zephaniah 3:12; Matthew 5:5, 8; Colossians 3:14). As Haggai reminded the people, the one true God will always be with us wherever we go (see also Genesis 28:15; Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:5; 1 Kings 8:57; Psalm 23:6). God is faithful and God will never leave nor forsake us no matter the difficulties and no matter the obstacle (Hebrews 13:5). So, be strong and courageous with wholehearted faith in God because God is with us (see also 1 Samuel 17:45; Matthew 1:23).

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