“Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Haggai the prophet proclaimed the Word of the Lord to those who were returned to Jerusalem after their seventy years of captivity. Their assignment was to build the temple, yet they were being negligent about the project. For a number of reasons, the remnant had been discouraged; and the preaching of Haggai was to stir the people to the importance and completion of their task. God uses the preaching of His Word to motivate and cause His people to focus. That is one of the many reasons we all need preaching and need to be faithful to attend the preaching services of our church. The people in Haggai’s day, including their leaders, Zerubbabel and Josedech, needed to be encouraged.
The preaching of God’s truth challenges us to think biblically. Each of us has been entrusted with responsibilities in the Lord’s work. We are to be witnesses, to love and teach our families, to serve in the ministries of the church, to support the work of missions with our prayers, labor, and finances, to live godly lives that are worthy of our Lord, etc. Sometimes we may also become slack in some of our duties, or find ourselves discouraged in the journey. God uses the preaching of the Scriptures to get us back on task and to help us to stay focused on our responsibilities.
Haggai challenged his listeners to “be strong.” They needed to hear that they could overcome their obstacles and opposition. God’s people have been promised the strength to accomplish and complete His will for our lives. The enemy wants us to doubt our ability, but God encourages us to be strong in the Lord.
He reminded them of their need to “work.” The job could not be completed without their effort. The same is true in our world. Building families, churches, and ministries requires work. It seems that many want the fruit of hard labor without the labor itself. Haggai delivered the message from God for the workers, “for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts.” They were not alone in their work, for God was with them. We have the same assurance in our work. God is with us. Let’s not be weary or distracted in our work. Be strong; and remember, we are not alone.