In the two lessons of today, God is telling us to have courage, and persevere in doing His work to which He has called us. There is a glorious reward for us.
1st Lesson (Haggai 2:1–9)
The Babylonians destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and took most of the Jews into exile. About 50 years later Cyrus, the Persian brought the Babylonian Empire to an end and allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple at Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-4).
But like many of us who are called to do God’s work, the people have become weak and discouraged in their labours. The work of rebuilding the temple, or soulsin our own case did not progress as expected (v3).
Reasons for discouragement
Haggai’s message is that the people should take courage and get on with the work (vv4-5). The workers are discouraged and their hands are slack in the work because:
- The memory of how glorious the temple/Church used to be.
- They think it is impossible to match the glory of Solomon’s temple and the exploits of the Pastor founder (Rev. SBJ Oschoffa).
- You work and work and the product seems so poor and minimal while others have grand achievements.
- They are tempted to quit and put away their aspirations and drop their dreams.
Hymn 429: Labour ye on and seek ye no repose.
The promise and covenant of God
- God promises to be with us(v4; Is. 8:10).
- God will use all His divine power to help us and strengthen us and protect us like He did at the Red Sea (v5; Ex.19:4-5).
- God has made a covenant to take our work, fill it with his glory, and make our labours a million times more than we ever imagined (vv 6-9).
2nd Lesson (Heb.12:1-13)
In the 2nd lesson, Apostle Paul encourages Christians to persevere and complete the race of faith. They are to remain faithful to God.
Faith is very important to the Christian. It is the Power of Faith that helps to strengthen our confidence in God’s promises. It prepares us for those times when the Lord calls upon us to move mountains. (Heb. 11:1; 6; Rom.10:17; Matt. 17:20).
We are encouraged to:
- Lay aside every weight and sin
- Run the race of faith with endurance (v1)
- Look on to Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith (v2)
- As sons and daughters of God, it is impossible not to experience His discipline (v5-8).
The purpose of the encouragement:
- To show us that God loves us (v6; Jn.3:16-17)
- To mould us into His own image of holiness (v10; Heb.14:12)
- To give us a reward of a peaceable fruit of righteousness (v11; Matt.6:33)
CCC Hymn 694: Let’s work for the purification of our souls.
Fulfillment of the prophecy
By the time Christ had begun his ministry, Herod had rebuilt Zerubbabel’s temple so that it was truly magnificent. The temple was destroyed in AD 70, but Jesus had said “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But He spoke of His body” (John 2:19–20).
The house of God is the church of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). The Church is the body of Christ (1 Cor.12:27). Our work is to bind up souls (1 Cor. 3:10-11).
Our call to build the temple of God is the grace of God (Eph. 2:5-9). The greatest grace of God is the offer of free salvation to the worst sinners. “While we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Note that obedience is vital and faith is essential.