Most of us spend very little time reading in the Minor Prophets in the Bible. Those are the little books at the end of the Old Testament in case you’re wondering. The book of Haggai is almost to the end of those books and the Lord gave him a word for Israel, but it can apply to us as well. The people of Israel had returned from exile and rebuilt their homes, however, the Temple still laid in ruins. God was upset because the people were more concerned about their well being than His. He pointed out that all of their labor wasn’t producing what it should have. He tied that to their lack of interest in rebuilding the Temple.
When all we are concerned about is ourselves, God can’t bless it. We will work our tails off, but will never get ahead. It doesn’t matter what we do, it will never be enough unless we put God first. This was the message Haggai gave to Israel and it goes out to us as well. When the people heard the message, they decided to obey the Lord’s command. As soon as they began, the Lord sent another message in Haggai 1:13, “I will be with you – that is my promise. (GNT)” When you’re doing the work God gives, we have the promise that He will be with us in it. He will not leave us alone.
In Haggai 2:4, God sent another message through Haggai. He said, “But now, don’t be discouraged…(GNT)” When we do what God has called us to do, there will be long periods where you work in obscurity. It will seem like no one is noticing, not even God. It will appear that you aren’t making progress, but God is there in the obscurity with you. Every great leader you can think of in the Bible spent years in obscurity. Moses left the palace to tend sheep. David hid in caves while waiting to be king. Abraham was a man without a home. Joshua was a spy before he was a leader. Whatever obscure position you’re in now, is preparation for the greater thing God has for you. Don’t get discouraged.
The next part of that verse says, “Do the work…(GNT)” We can’t quit doing what God has called us to. We have to continue the work. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will the work you do for God. There’s a scriptural principle that Jesus spoke of that we need to remember. It’s simply that if we are faithful with the little things, God will put us in charge of larger things. We have to be willing to do the small work before God can trust us with the greater work. He doesn’t just give that out. Whatever God has put in front of you, do the work and do it well.
In the final part of that message in Haggai 2:4, God reminds the people, “I am with you. (GNT)” God is with you before you begin and during the process. He has promised to be there when no one else is. He has given you His word that no matter how hard things get, He will still be there with you. Don’t give up. Don’t look at the final outcome. Do the work one day at a time and God will bless it. When you’re doing what He called you to do, obscurity is a way of life because you’re doing things for His glory, not yours. Don’t despise small beginnings. There is much to learn, much to grow and much ministry to be don’t in those times. Don’t get discouraged, keep working.