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The Scriptorium

Back on Track

Well, for now. Haggai 1.12-15

Return from Exile: Haggai (3)

Pray Psalm 51.14, 15, 18.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise…
Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.

Sing Psalm 51.14, 15, 18.
(Aughton: He Leadeth Me)
Deliver us, from guilt, O Lord, You Who have saved us by Your Word;
and let our tongues Your mercy bless, and sing of Your great righteousness!
Refrain vv. 15, 18
Lord, open now our lips to raise to You sweet songs of joyous praise!
Thus let Your favor on us fall, and build and strengthen Zion’s wall!

Read Haggai 1.1-15; meditate on verses 12-15.

What got the people building again?

How did God use Haggai in this work?


When God wants His work done, He stirs up the spirits of those who can make things happen. First, Cyrus (Ezra 1.1), then the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem (Ezra 1.5), and here, Joshua and Zerubbabel and “all the remnant of the people (Hag. 1.14). There’s a lesson here, but it will take centuries yet to learn it. And the danger of forgetting the lesson is constant.

The Word of God is living and powerful when God chooses to drive it home and turn it loose (v. 12). Haggai’s preaching (vv. 7-11), struck fear in the hearts of the people, leading to obedience. Right away, the Lord gave Haggai a message of reassurance for the people: “I am with you, says the LORD” (v. 13). Thus God stirred the hearts of the leaders and people alike, “and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God” (v. 14).

It would be yet two months before Zechariah came to urge the people to return to the Law and the prophets and to point them through visions to God’s redemptive work yet to come. God seemed to know that two months’ work would find the people beginning to stray again, and the words of Haggai would need reinforcing by those of Zechariah. We never don’t need the Word of God. And the great blessing we have which the returning exiles did not is that we have the whole counsel of God in all of Scripture available to us day by day. We need to hear the preaching of the Word; but more even than that, we need to feed on that Word daily, or we will become weak of spirit and stray from the work God has called us to do.

Which is where we find the Church today, mired in self-interest, trivial pursuits, and cultural compromise. We are captive to the spirit of the age and its many and allurements. Pray that God will stir our spirits again.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart” (Prov. 20.27).
“So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel…Joshua….and of all the remnant of the people” (Hag. 1.14).

It is a certainty that we will never receive an award for having well-trained dogs.
We love our dogs, but our canine friends have one act of obedience: sit.
But teach them we did, so that when we would like them to do it, they will.

As God’s people we must be attuned to His Words, so that when He says “sit”, we know what He means. The children of Israel were not completely ignorant of God’s Word. They were familiar with Him enough to be “stirred”. That was a first step.

“They came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God” (Hag. 1.14). God’s people need to know Him well enough, to be stirred by Him. Even Saul knew Who had knocked him to the ground: “Who are You, Lord?” (Acts 9.5). All people are aware that there is a God (Rom. 1.18-21); but it is important, as God’s people, that we are in His Word so that we can be stirred. Stirred to get up and work in our Personal Mission Field.

The more we know of His Word, the more we know Him, and how He might want to stir us.
“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119.18, 105).

God wants to stir us to action. He wants us to be on track with Him. He has given us the power to do what He has requested from us, as He said, “I am with you” (Hag. 1.13). And Jesus said the same, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (Jn. 14.23). To stir him to righteousness.

“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28.20) to get you back on track and to keep you there, by the power of My Holy Spirit” (Acts 1.8). 

Search my heart, and stir my spirit, Lord. To work (Eph. 2.10).

For reflection
1. If God were to “stir” in you, to what do you think He would stir you?

2. How would you know if God were stirring you like this? What can you do so that He might do this?

3. Meditate on Hebrews 10.24. Whom will you encourage—stir up—to love and good works today?

An account was kept of the families that came up out of captivity. See how sin lowers a nation, which righteousness would exalt! Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Ezra 2.1-67

Pray Psalm 51.16-19.
Call on the Lord to renew your spirit and to fill you with His. Ask for strength to serve Him well today as you build the temple of your body as a living sacrifice to Him.

Sing Psalm 51.16-19.
(Aughton: He Leadeth Me)
No sacrifice, no offering would You have us, Your people, bring;
but broken spirits, cleansed of lies, and pure hearts You will not despise.
Refrain vv. 15, 18
Lord, open now our lips to raise to You sweet songs of joyous praise!
Thus let Your favor on us fall, and build and strengthen Zion’s wall!

Now build Your Church, raise high the wall of those who on Your mercy call.
And take our lives and let them be sweet sacrifices, Lord, to Thee!

T. M. and Susie Moore

Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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