Have you ever been discouraged about your hard work for the Lord? Has it ever seemed insignificant to you?
The leaders and the people of God felt that the rebuilt Temple was nothing compared to the glory of the former Temple. Although they had been working on the project for about a month, they realised that with limited manpower and resources.
(Haggai 1:14 – 15)
“14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.”
Haggai 2: 1-3
The Coming Glory of God’s House
1 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying: 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying: 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple[a] in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?
The temple would not have the same size and grandeur as Solomon’s Temple. So many of them grew discouraged and began playing the comparison game (see Ezra 3:10 –13).
10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests stood[a] in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD:
“For He is good,
For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.”
Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.
God understood it well, saying, “Is there anyone who can remember this house – the Temple – as it was before? In comparison, how does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! (Haggai 2:3). But the Lord Almighty then exhorted them, “Take courage and work, for I am with you” (Haggai 2:4). Where would they find the heart to obey? They would find it in the Lord’s presence, promises, and power. God assured them, “My spirit remains among you” (Haggai 2:5).
5 ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’
Zechariah was also involved in the rebuilding . God spoke to him and said. “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10).
10 For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the LORD,
Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”
Although the Temple appeared small and far less glorious. God promised, “The future glory of the Temple will be greater than its past glory” (Haggai. 2:9), because Christ himself would one day walk into it.
9 ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
When we need our spirit stirred, God will stir us up. Then we will stop comparing the good old days with the bad new days and get to work. God will help us see the work we are doing for him as he sees it. God is in charge of evaaluating our work. When our work for him seems “like nohing” to us, we must remember that it is something very important to him.
Next time you’re in charge of a project at church and your committee is discouraged, don’t make comparisons with last year’s activity that went so well. Encourage your workers by reading them this story. Tell thm not to make comparisons with last year’s anything! Today is another day. Pray about it together, and ask God to give you a sense of his pleasure in the work you’re trying so hard to accomplish for him. Then tell your committee that even if their work seems “like nothing” to them, it certainly is “something” to God.