Have you ever been in a situation where you were waiting for someone to do something, only to find out they were waiting for you too? Maybe you even realized afterward that it was actually you holding up the project… Oops!
The people of Judah find themselves in a similar situation in Haggai 1, but God ended up helping them with the clarity and courage needed to take those next steps toward what He had already made a way for. Check it out in the video or the written post below:
““Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘This people says, “The time has not come, even the time for the house of the LORD to be rebuilt.” ’ ” Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?” Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways!” – Haggai 1:2-7 (NASB)
Here we see the people had convinced themselves that it was not yet time for what they anticipated for the future to become a reality. Instead of moving toward what God had spoken, they sat paralyzed in an awkward in-between of waiting for something they believed yet allowing that belief to be overtaken by their bigger belief that their breakthrough was being blocked by their circumstances, as if any person or situation could overpower what God had already spoken over them.
Jumping back to Deuteronomy, we see another example of what people chose to believe getting in the way of what God was trying to do in their lives:
““The LORD our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and set your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites, and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negev and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. See, I have placed the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them.’” – Deuteronomy 1:6-8 (NASB)
And a few verses down:
““Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God; and you grumbled in your tents and said, ‘Because the LORD hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us. Where can we go up? Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, “The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified to heaven. And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim there.” ’ Then I said to you, ‘Do not be shocked, nor fear them. The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.’ But for all this, you did not trust the LORD your God, who goes before you on your way, to seek out a place for you to encamp, in fire by night and cloud by day, to show you the way in which you should go.” – Deuteronomy 1:26-33 (NASB)
Wow. There’s so much in there about how God loves and leads, it seems crazy that we even consider doubting what He says. It’s human nature’s tendency to want to work out plans in our own strength and understanding, but that’s not the way this is supposed to go. Not only were we made to serve God, but He’s also the best leader a person could ask for, so we never have to question whether or not we can trust Him.
This was where the people of Judah were in Haggai too. They were waiting for the temple to be rebuilt and the work had started, but they believed it wasn’t time to finish rebuilding because obstacles arose and discouraged them. Later in Zechariah, it becomes even clearer that this attitude seen in Haggai needed to change:
“Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.” – Zechariah 4:6 (NASB)
The temple wouldn’t be rebuilt by their might or their power… Y’know… Those things people use to try to reason their way through everything? Haha oh boy…
I don’t know what you have going on in your life right now, but I hope this can serve as an encouragement to take a step back and examine how you’ve been viewing your present situation. At least for me, reading through these parts of Haggai and Zechariah ended with me thinking: “Oh! Duh, Chrissy… This is you right now. You’re feeling this way because it is time to start but you keep telling yourself it’s not yet.”
The next question though is: How? Maybe you’ve been going nuts wanting to start but don’t know what that would even look like. Or, maybe you really are in a spot where it looks like your circumstances are forcing you into a standstill. Remember, it’s His strength. You aren’t expected to force your victory.
Check out a couple verses down:
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand…” – Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)
The Lord rejoices to see the work begin…
…But do we?
It’s easy to get so focused on what we don’t see happening, we completely miss what God is doing and preparing in us right where we are. Sometimes, small beginnings feel so far from the dreams in our hearts that it feels as if nothing is happening. Those beginnings can look so insignificant and weak. Maybe people even jumped in to tell you that based off present circumstances, your dream is more likely than not impossible (Thanks for that, guys).
Confession: I didn’t know what a plumb line was before reading verse 10. Turns out, the plumb line was used to measure how vertical or upright a structure was (Check it out on Bible Gateway).
What if we rejoiced in small beginnings too? What if we sought to see our circumstances the way God intends them? Do we sincerely pray that God would examine our hearts and show us areas that need to change? Do we pray for eyes to see the opportunities He is placing in front of us and for the wisdom to steward those opportunities well? What if we dared to believe there is no time wasted with a God who turns small beginnings into life-changing journeys?
If you’re struggling with your circumstances, hang tight. I don’t know what it is that comes to mind as you read this, but I do know that God knows and is ready and willing to lead you if you are ready and willing to follow Him. Even through the struggle of surrendering our will to His, we are invited to join along with everyone else who is consciously making the decision that our faith in who God is and what He is doing is going to be bigger than our doubts and fears over our circumstances. His Word does not return to Him void; we can allow His truth and faithfulness to strengthen our hearts.
Here’s to our journey!