By Michael Youssef, Ph D. 08/21/20
Because of opposition and discouragement, the Israelites had halted their mission to rebuild God’s temple for 16 years. Through the prophet Haggai, God revealed something that was holding them back: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild LORD’s house'” (Haggai 1:2).
How many of us have used the same age-old excuse? “It’s not the right time.” Although God does have an appointed time for things, sometimes we can use this Truth to rationalize our behavior instead of submitting to Christ.
In England in the late 1700s, there was a poor shoemaker named William. For years the Lord had been stirring a passion in his heart to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth as Jesus had commanded. William’s dream received much opposition from church leaders at the time.
Over 200 years later, William Carey is known as the father of modern missions. He is known for being the catalyst of the missionary movement of the 19th century, the movement back to which many of us can trace our own evangelical roots.
At the time, Carey had plenty of reasons to give up. He could have said, “Lord, I don’t have the money to go to India and preach the Gospel. I have a family to feed. Even these other pastors think it’s a bad idea.” But he knew in his heart what God’s Word said. If Carey had given in to just one excuse, the missions movement might never have been born.
God’s convicting response to the Israelites’ excuse in Haggai 1:4 would probably sound like this to us today: “You have time for entertainment, you have time for your career, but do you have time for My service?”
Read Haggai 1:12-14. Because God had revealed the state of their hearts, the Israelites knew where they stood and did not want to remain apathetic any longer. By God’s mercy and grace, they returned to the Lord.
The message of Haggai is that God can always redirect us when we have forgotten our purpose. What is God asking of you today? Is your life centered on Christ and His mission? Allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen and encourage you. No matter the cost, He is worth it!
Prayer: Lord, show me if there are any hindrances keeping me from complete obedience. Give me an urgency to share Your Word with others. What an honor it is to serve You! I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live” (Deuteronomy 4:9).