December 20, 2017
“Be strong. Do the work. Do not fear.”
These are the three instructions the Lord gave to the Israelites who had returned from Babylonian captivity. Zerubbabel was the grandson of Jehoiachin, penultimate king of Judah. He led the first group of captives back to Jerusalem. He and Joshua, the high priest, led the people to rebuild the temple, but the people had been putting their own households first. After rebuilding the foundation years earlier, the temple still lay in ruins. The people had not finished what they had begun. They had become busy with their own homes, putting their own house ahead of the Lord’s.
Perhaps they felt they didn’t have the money or the expertise. Perhaps they feared falling short of the “glory” of Solomon’s Temple (Hag. 2:3). Whatever their reasons, they had stopped working. So, God gave them three instructions: “Be strong. Do the work. Do not fear.” And He gave them one powerful promise: “I am with you.”
He still makes this promise to us today. As the angel told Mary, “Do not fear. The Lord is with you. For nothing is impossible with God!” (Luke 1:28-37).