Christians can easily become careless in their life and lose sight of the gospel and need to be awakened by God.
Haggai 1:14 – 15
14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month.
[ Haggai picture ]
The people had returned from exile in Babylon to rebuild the temple. Time had passed and they failed to fulfil their responsibility, so the Lord sent his prophet. He told them to consider their ways and have a change of heart. The previous section tells us that they took the words to heart and were ready to be obedient to the Lord.
These final verses of chapter 1 tell us the Lord didn’t leave them merely to their own desires and determination; we can never have enough strength within to persevere in serving the Lord. We are told he stirred the spirit of Zerubbabel, Joshua and all the people. The simple matter that it mentions that their spirits were stirred reminds us that this was a work of the Holy Spirit. The effects were that they had a complete change of attitude and behaviour. How did this come about?
Firstly, when the Spirit moves in the life of people the reality of our relationship with God and our needs become clear. No doubt in the face of the preaching of Haggai and the work of the Spirit they experienced a great conviction of their sin and a need to change. Secondly, with the reminder by word and Spirit that the Lord was with them, there is the knowledge that their status was beloved children of God.
The change in attitude is principally that the Lord had been previously in the background in their lives but now he was in the foreground. Previously they had been avoiding the Lord, now they delighted in him and wanted to serve him.
Clearly, this is the sort of transformation that all of us need when, like these people, we lose sight of the gospel for a while. It is not uncommon for Christians to pass through times when the Lord seems distant and the values and ways of the world become entirely attractive. In such times love for God and others grows cold and mercy and compassion diminish. How do we come out of this? Firstly, we listen to the Lord as he speaks through his word and recognise that we have sinfully changed the focus of our life away from our saviour. Secondly, we confess that sin to him and ask for his mercy. It is then that we experience a renewal which is provided by the Spirit as we cease to quench his work in our life. The rediscovered love we have in Christ promotes a delight in our God. The mercy of God through the cross awakens mercy in us toward others. The renewed recognition of eternal life in Christ transforms our outlook on life toward an eternal perspective where knowing the Lord is far more important than even the greatest luxuries this world may offer.
Head and Heart: When the Lord touches our heart and reminds us we are leading a life unworthy of a Christian we need to think carefully about the gospel and how we have forgotten or disregarded the mercy and love of God.
Hands: Begin to show the same love and mercy toward others which the Lord has shown us.
Prayer: Father, I confess to you that I am often losing sight of the gospel and thinking and acting like those who know nothing of Jesus. Please turn my attention to the reality of Jesus and stir my spirit to love and serve you better. In Jesus name. Amen.
A Song to Listen to: Centre My Life
Living Church – Creek Road