Stir Our Hearts

By Matt Wolff

I’ve recently begun pursuing my seminary education. In my Intro to Hermeneutics class, we’ve been looking at the Old Testament book of Haggai. I must admit—this is not a book I’ve turned to for personal devotional time. I also can’t think of a single sermon I’ve heard from the passages of this minor prophet.

Haggai has only two chapters, focused on God’s people returning to Israel from their exile in Persia. As they looked to start over as a nation, their focus was on returning to their homes rather than returning their hearts to the Lord their God. Rather than rebuilding the Temple of God for worship, they instead rebuilt and lived in lavish homes. The Lord gave His warning through His prophet Haggai and called His people to repentance, asking, “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses while this house remains in ruin?”

Thankfully, the people actually listened! Haggai tells us that the people feared the Lord their God again and repented of neglecting Him. The Lord responded to their repentance by stirring the hearts of His people in a supernatural way. They rebuilt the Temple and God revived their nation. God’s hand of blessing returned to them, and He promised to bless them from that day forward.

My heart yearns to see this within our own nation—beginning with Christ’s Church. Every day we see a world falling apart and people divided. God calls us to live our lives for Him, His mission, and those things that are most important according to His Word.

As I’ve been reading Haggai, the Lord has led me to consider these questions for myself and our church:

How will we continue to follow God’s call to go into this world with the truth of His Gospel?

Do we fear God more than we fear losing our positions of comfort or stability?

In this world full of crisis, do we still believe God is the answer people are looking for?