This week Tim took us through Haggai chapter 2 and began by challenging us to reflect and consider if we had ever been disappointed with God….
Tim very helpfully divided chapter 2 into three sections.
1. Hope Fading
This next prophecy from Haggai came about a month after they had restarted the work on the temple, as we read in chapter one. It was now the seventh month which, in the Jewish calendar, was one with many feasts and festivals: the feast of trumpets, the day of atonement and the feast of tabernacles or booths. This last feast was to remind the people of God’s great work amongst them in the Exodus from Egypt, and it was partly a harvest festival too. The harvests had been rather poor. Haggai speaks to the leaders first as they stand before the people.
This is a reference to the previous temple built by Solomon, which was lost during the exile. They no longer had the resources nor the skills to build another temple of this grandeur. The latter part of this verse causes any resurgent hope they had from previous prophecy to fade. God knew of their disappointment and voiced it through Haggai. However, this is not the end; God had more to say to those whose hope was fading.
2. Hope Renewed
This verse provides a message of encouragement and hope, which is further bolstered:
This verse reminded not only those people in the temple that the presence of God was in their midst but is a reminder for us today.
Tim reminded us that we can often focus on what we don’t have; in this case it was skills, resources and numbers, rather than what they did have – God’s presence.
We need to realise that God’s Spirit lives within us; resetting our hearts and renewing our hope. It takes faith in God’s presence with us to persevere when initial enthusiasm fails. To continue moving forwards when life disappoints us. To remind ourselves that God is with us even when we feel disappointed by God.
3. Hope of Glory
Throughout Scripture there have been times of silence and at present we are living in a period of ‘silence’, so to speak. Tim reminded us of how hard it is to live in-between. It’s hard living with the now, but not yet. It’s hard to wait, to hope.
We were reminded that God’s ways are not our ways, although as God has said it, He will do it. So be ready and keep watch!
The people in Haggai’s day could not have ever imagined that the glory of God incarnate would later come to this temple and would grant us full and everlasting peace. This causes us to wonder if Haggai’s people had known this, would they have continued to be disappointed. Tim very poignantly stated that this disappointment would have been “swallowed up by the greatest hope possible, the hope of glory, Christ in us”.
- In life we will face disappointments, yet we should bring these to God.
- Our hope is renewed because we have God’s Spirit within us.
- God is asking us to be strong and work, to respond to His word and give careful thought to our ways.