The Main Thing Part 6: God’s Business First
Haggai is a 2-chapter book named after prophet that encouraged God’s people to rebuild the temple after returning from Babylonian exile.
The theme: God says to His people, “Consider your ways! You have sown much but reap little. You eat but you do not have enough. You earn wages to put them in a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:5-6
Why was this happening to God’s people who know God as their provider? God’s answer –
“You have looked for much and it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” Haggai 1:9
Have you ever tried to do something that you realized God caused it not to work, or to fail?
There is a reason! If God does not want you to succeed in a matter, He knows how to bring it to an end!
Back to Haggai – God tells His people why their plans were not coming to pass! God answers His own “why” question in the next verse.
“Because My house that lies in ruins while each of you runs to his own house. Therefore the heavens have withheld the dew and the earth withheld the crops.” Verses 9-10
Their mission from God was to rebuild the temple, but over time, and it soon became a secondary goal and not the primary one.
They exchanged God’s plan for their own plan for their life, and they wonder why it’s not working ?
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Psalm 121
Have you ever labored in vain because it was not God’s will for you to do it? A personal example of God redirecting our plans to His:
Ill. When I was 23 in USMC, Pam and I were married and one child. Time came I had to make a decision to either re-enlist or get out. The only direction I received from Lord was one word – ‘education’. I took that as a go ahead for my dream to get out and get my college and go back in as an officer in Marines. The only plan or dream I had at that time. “We may make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9
We got out of MC and moved to Daytona to start college but when time came to register I could not do it. It was a horrible feeling of not belonging there. Now totally confused I began questioning whether I really heard from God or not!
Several months later we learned about a Bible College that was fully accredited. Is this what God wants? The moment we visited the campus we both knew we were to be there. Still my plan was the same – go back to Marine Corps officer. Over next 4 years we saw our plan was not working out and I needed to surrender because He had another plan, but - we still were not sure what it was! But He was requiring we surrender ourselves to His will even w/o knowing what His will would look like!
As God redirected our life, He also was changing our hearts and to trust Him and let go of our plans. We are still learning today = to surrender God’s will even w/o knowing details. I don’t the know future.
But I believe there are ministries God wants by some of you – and for whatever reason; procrastination, desire for other things, personal dreams, - God’s ministries in GT are sitting in ruins.
Ill. During our time away I was working on My vision of GT short term – longer term and wish list. I will share with elders and have them help me shape this into a vision I can communicate to you soon.
I noticed in our church when you can see a goal you rise to the challenge! – i.e. Encounter church and Bahamas offerings back to back.
We have to remain flexible and let the Lord lead w/o knowing the details or what it will look like at completion!
Then the Lord spoke through Haggai saying, “I am with you says the Lord.” The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the governor of Judah, and Joshua the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of Hosts their God. Verses 13-15
But the rebuilding was not turning out as expected by some!
Ill. The older people remembered the former glory of the temple and complained the new was nothing like the former. God said don’t compare and get discouraged. This is a new work and move of God.
“Work for I am with you says the Lord of Hosts.” 2:4
Where are we going to get the money to do all this? We are a small group – limited?
So many times the money is not there before we begin a project. Notice what God says after the people began the work.
For thus says the Lord of Hosts: “Once more in a little while I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations and they will come with the wealth of all the nations, and I will fill My house with glory. The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lord of Hosts.” 2:6-8
“Once more?” Did this happen before?
When Moses led Israel out of Egypt, they had no money. They were slaves. They did not have money or resources to leave Egypt and start a new life!
“Israel acted on the word of the Lord. Then the Lord caused the Egyptians to be friendly towards the people of Israel and they gave them whatever they asked for. In this way they carried away the wealth of Egypt.” Exodus 12:35-36
- After this they were tested again with the need for water!
- There will be lean times where He does not provide at the time you expect – He is stretching you to trust Him.
We have to act on what we believe God is telling us to do! Once we do we will be challenged by the enemy, but watch how the Lord will provide and help you in spite of obstacles!
Ill. Vacation God provided!
Ill. We believed God called us to become the senior pastor to a small church in Astor, Fl. The problem was they could not pay me what I was getting paid as a youth pastor. But we believed we heard from God and took the position with less pay. It was tight but okay.
Not long after this I got a letter from IRS saying I owed 2,500 dollars in SS taxes – 150 dollar payments. This was devasting to me. It might as well be 2 million dollars. I had to start making 150-dollar payments and it was very hard to get by. WE made payments for about a year and one morning I will never forget as I was crying out to God for help to pay this month’s IRS payment. HS spoke to my mind – quit complaining and start thanking me for the answer. That very day I went to the Post Office for mail and got saw a letter and check from IRS.
Why am I telling you this?
You will be challenged by the enemy to try to discourage or stop you. If you have heard from God – then start obeying what He told you and mark it down that day and remember so you can look back on it.
“‘Now think ahead from this day onward. Think ahead from when the Temple rebuilding was launched. Has anything in your fields—vine, fig tree, pomegranate, olive tree—failed to flourish? Now from this day onward I will bless you.’” 2:18-19
Concl: God has plans for your life but you get tired and discouraged and somehow exchanged your plans for His. I have done this. I repent.
On the day you decide to move forward and do what you believe God has revealed for you - mark it down – that day onward watch how God blesses and makes the way for you!
- But this will require you to surrender your dreams for His plans.
- w/o knowing what it looks like = trusting Him.
Part of keeping the Main thing the Main thing is – putting God’s business first, His plans over yours! His ministry over your dreams.
Ultimately surrender your life to Him THEN He will reveal His plans!
This is how He has dealt with us – I believe He will do the same for you.
We would like to pray over you about His plans for your future and prophesy as the Lord leads.