The Working out of Our Faith

Haggai 1 / Psalm 21

By Sonya Polino

Holy Spirit open our eyes to see You, our ears to hear You, our minds to receive what You are saying to us, and our hearts to be radically obedient.

The beautiful symmetry of God’s word never ceases to amaze me!  Take a small tangent with me, read Proverbs 16:33.  You may need your electronic device as the NLT version of this verse gives such a good visual that it is so clearly imbedded in my mind.  

Our prayer team leader, Mrs. Sarah Mack, after praying had put together our list of readings for a 40 day segment.  As I am sure you have noticed they simply are in order.  Mrs. Mack simply chose the starting and ending point for this segment of 40 days.  Today is day 21 and so we are reading Psalm 21.  Haggai is the next book after Zephaniah so we are reading Haggai 1.  We threw the dice, so to speak.

Now take a minute and read Haggai 1 and Psalm 21.  Isn’t it amazing how perfectly they fit together, their contrast so aligns?  “... but the Lord determines how they fall.”  He really is THAT good!  Absolutely every detail of our lives ... Hallelujah!

Take another minute and re-read our passages for today, they are both short!  What is standing out to you?  Sit in this for a minute and ask God to open your eyes, reveal deeper.  If you have a minute, let me know what the Lord is speaking to you - I would love to know!

Notice in Haggai 1:4 it states that the Israelites are living in their houses.  It does not state that they are building / repairing, or had just finished.  This tells me that the issue is not a chronological order of the repairs (first my house and then the temple), but that issue is that there is truly neglect of the temple, their house of worship.

Turn with me to 2 Samuel 7:1, “When the king had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest on every side ... the king said ....”

Now if we bring this back to the Israelites in Haggai, it might say ... When the Israelites were released from their exile and allowed to return, they settled into their houses and ... and ... what. They kept on living.

I believe the issue that the Lord through Haggai spoke was that their hearts did not turn to their God.  They were busy rebuilding their life but not allowing their heart to turn in gratitude to Yahweh, to bring Him the honor and glory.  

God is never about the physical world.  He will use it to bring about spiritual things, but He is always about the “heart of the matter”, our spirits - our eternity!  So He didn’t really care necessarily about the physical building per se.  But their hearts, they were withholding themselves from Yahweh.

Listen to King David in Psalm 21:1, “Lord, the king finds joy in Your strength.  How greatly he rejoices in Your victory!”  I feel pretty confident that there was not a correlating sentiment from the Israelites.

That is the precise difference between the Israelites in Haggai 1:6 “you have planted much but harvested little.  You eat but never have enough to be satisfied.  You drink but never have enough to become drunk.  You put on clothes but never have enough to get warm.  The wage earner puts his wages into a bag with a hole in it.” ... and David in Psalm 21:2-3 “You have given him his heart’s desire and have not denied the request of his lips.  For You meet him with rich blessings ...”

The Israelites walked into a messy, broken-down city, just recently released from exile.  I am sure there was plenty to mourn and be discouraged about.  But where was their hearts’ and eyes’ focus?

David lived a very messy life, riddled with sin and bad choices.  His family was a mess from start to finish.  David lived through battles, lots of lost lives and even thousands of lives lost directly due to his bad decisions.  Who of us could ever have walked in David’s shoes?  Who of us could have ever carried the guilt and weight of his past?  Just choose just ONE of David’s life situations and put yourself in it as David.  

I personally have long been struck by I Chronicles 13.  David’s pride and exuberance took him over.  Uzzah loses his life that day.  Verse 12, “David feared God that day and said “How can I ever bring the ark of God to me?”  But I absolutely love I Chronicle 14:2, “Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been exalted for the sake of His people Israel.”

Yes, David was king and lived in a palace.  If we are looking at the physical world, that really was all he had.  His wife despised him, his children hated him and caused an uprising against him (in which he ran away scared by the way!).  After being anointed King, he served the current king and then literally had to run for his life for many years before actually receiving the honor.  His kingdom is divided. And on and on ... 

But we know David “after (God’s) own heart.”  Do we see and receive the heart of the matter here?  It wasn’t the life that David lived, the choices that he made ... another translation stated 1 Samuel 13:14 as “The Lord has found a man loyal to Him ...”

David tells us in Psalm 21:6 & 7, “You give him blessings forever; You cheer him with joy in Your presence.  For the king relies on the Lord; through the faithful love of the Most High he is not shaken.”

David lived out Daniel 3:17 - 18, “the God we serve ... He can rescue us from the fiery furnace ... He can rescue us from the power of you ... But even if He does not rescue us ...”  Even when God did not deliver David from the situation as he had petitioned God, even when God did not give David what he wanted, David still chose to love and give himself to God wholeheartedly.  Do we?  What is that situation in you life, in my life that has caused us to doubt and falter?  What do we chose to do with that situation today?

David lived out Philippians 3:13 & 14, “Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.  I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”  David left his past and pressed on toward what God had for him to do today.  What are we choosing to do with the things in our past today?

In Haggai 1:7, the Lord tells us “Think carefully about your ways, Go...” (and do that thing that He is telling you) ... verse 8 “Then I will be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord.””

Haggai gives us what I think is a rare response from the Israelites ... they responded!  They did it!  Praise God!  Verse 12, “... the entire remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him.  So the people feared the Lord.”

Haggai chapter 1 has such a great climatic ending ... “I am with you,” - this is the Lord’s declaration.”  The Lord stirred their spirits and they began the work!

Let’s rise up together today.  Let’s receive and obey the word our Abba Father is speaking and stand strong in our faith together today!

Isaiah 7:9, “... If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.”

Lord, I ask that You stir all of our hearts today.  Abba, loving and faithful Father, stir us!  As we step into our day, we do not step into another day of “trying” and “struggling” but Lord we step out into today in Your victory, into Your truth, into Your strength.  Abba, we know that it has nothing to do with us, who we are, what we have done, or what we do.  It has everything to do with You, who You are, what You do and what You have done.  We step into today in Your grace.  We love You and we trust You.  In Jesus name, Amen

“Be exalted, Lord, in Your strength’ we will sing and praise Your might.”  Psalm 21:13

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