ODJ: the stings of life

January 8, 2015 

READ: Haggai 1:1-13 

Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, gave the people this message from the LORD: “I am with you, says the LORD!” (v.13).

A 71 year old woman was outside her home when a swarm of killer (Africanised) bees began stinging her. Neighbours called firefighters who rushed to the rescue—only to find the woman covered in a “suit of bees”. A blanket was thrown over her and she was carried into a neighbour’s house. Surprisingly, she survived more than 1,000 stings!

A remnant of Judah had returned to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon, only to be stung by the words and actions of the local pagan residents (Nehemiah 4:1-3). Once full of excitement and ready to rebuild the temple and the rest of the city, these Hebrews were now depressed and in a state of apathy. That’s when the prophet Haggai provided a fourfold message for them:

  • Do the work—Haggai told them to give up their creature comforts and restore the temple and city for God’s glory (Haggai 1:1-15).
  • Cling to God’s promises—The people could rest in the fact that God had not forgotten or abandoned them (2:1-9).
  • Pursue purity—God desired that they continue to follow His law and to be holy as He is holy (vv.10-19; Leviticus 11:44-45).
  • Know that God rules—God reaffirmed that the line of kings leading to the Messiah and the kingdom He would usher in was intact and could not be broken (Haggai 2:20-23).

The stings of life can cause us to get bogged down in spiritual apathy. Perhaps you’re working for a difficult boss or have a family challenge that simply won’t go away. Whatever the issues are, remember this: God calls us to passionately serve Him as we rest in His promises. Pursue God and His rules, even as you find hope in the fact that He rules! —Tom Felten

365-day plan› Genesis 11:1-9

Read Matthew 24:12-14 and consider what it reveals about the importance of living out true faith in Jesus even as sin and challenges abound. 
What has caused you to experience spiritual apathy? What can help you to regain your passion for following and serving Him?