Be Strong And Do the Work
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Haggai 2:4-5
Sunday 27th October 2013
Over the last few weeks we have been looking at a series, ‘The Glory of the Latter House’ which has comprised two messages, ‘God is up to Something Great’ and ‘Activating the Glory’. We defined glory, the Hebrew word ‘Kabod’, as honour, dignity, blessing, eminence, greatness, majesty, preciousness, riches, abundance, wealth, magnificence, splendour, illustriousness and stateliness. We understood that God wants us to be carrier of His glory; He created us for His glory, to manifest and live in His glory.
In developing an understanding of what we must do to activate the glory, we looked at Haggai 1: 8 in which the children of Israel were told to bring wood from the hills to build the temple of the Lord in order that He may take pleasure in it and appear in His glory. God therefore assures us that as long as we do His will and walk in His purpose, He will appear in our lives in His glory. We are here as a channel by which God’s glory will be revealed to our world. God wants to pour out His blessings, His honour, His favour and His glory but His requirement is that we do His will; when we give Him our attention and do as he has asked, He assures us that He will visit us with His glory. As you have been reminded repeatedly in this house, everyone here is called by God for a purpose; before the glory can manifest there must be something you are “building” for God, an expression of your worship. Hannah activated the glory when she aligned herself to the will of God. Exodus 40:33-36 reveals that Moses activated the glory when he finished the work that God entrusted into his hands: the cloud of God’s glory filled the Tabernacle.
The focus of today’s message is the need for us to be strong and do the work that God has called us to do. In Haggai 2:4-5, God addressed the returned exiles saying, ‘Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,' says the Lord; 'and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,' says the Lord, 'and work; for I am with you,' says the Lord of hosts. 'According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!'
You were created to make impact in life; you were created to make a mark that cannot be erased. You were created to add value to life, to make a difference. You were created to accomplish something great and there is an assignment that you have been called to fulfil. God’s instruction to Zerubbabel the Governor, Joshua the High priest and the entirety of the returned exiles was to build the temple; He challenged them to do the work. This scripture makes it clear that in order to do the work, to build and advance the Kingdom and make a difference, we need to be strong.
To be strong is to be strengthened, to prevail, to harden, to be courageous, to be firm, grow firm and to be resolute. You cannot build or do the work unless you are strong; you cannot build or do the work from a position of weakness. At the time at which Haggai’s prophetic instruction came to the people of Israel, they had stopped rebuilding the Temple. Whilst when they left Babylon, they were clear as to their assignment, they had since succumbed to discouragement and inertia.
It is important that you do not lose your vision. The bible says in Proverbs 29:18 [AMP], ‘Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish.’ Your success in life is hidden in the discovery and pursuit of your vision; vision is the key to distinction in your life. Vision gives you drive; it is what marks and distinguishes you and creates the desire to achieve and the passion to make things happen. The world in which we live is ruled by visionaries. The most bankrupt person on earth is not the one without money but the one without vision. It is important therefore to periodically hold ‘board meetings’ with yourself and address the question: ‘Where am I going and what will I be remembered for when I leave this world?’
The children of Israel who returned from exile had sadly lost their vision. The drive and the passion to rebuild the Temple that they had when they left Babylon had evaporated and had given way to despondency. They lost their vision to build because people around them talked them out of it; all they had heard was that it was not possible and it was a waste of time to carry on and gradually, they began to believe what they heard, and as a result, they became discouraged and they stopped building; in other words, they lost their vision. If you can allow someone to discourage you and talk you out of your vision then you have no conviction. I would question the value of the friendship or association which seeks to devalue or undermine your vision.
Haggai 2: 4-5 however is a reminder to all of us that regardless of the depths to which we may have sunk, God will not leave us in our mess. God has a purpose for our lives which will come to pass; our purpose will not be aborted. He reached out to the children of Israel in their hopelessness. The prophet Haggai was called to declare God’s counsel to the children of Israel and call them out of apathy. The prophecy was to Zerubbabel the governor, Joshua the High Priest and to all the people and was a call to reconnect with their vision; a reminder that they had been called to make an impact and fulfil destiny. Haggai called the children of Israel to be strong as strength is needed to keep the vision alive.
To the inevitable question ‘How can you be strong in the midst of a discouraging situation?’ God’s answer is found in Haggai 2:4 with the assurance, ‘I am with you…my Spirit remains among you’. He was reminding the children of Israel that the covenant that He established when they left Egypt was still valid; He was with them.
God’s presence gives strength. If I unplugged the electric keyboard, regardless of how skilfully or energetically the keyboardist played, nothing would be heard and there would be no output as it has been disconnected from the source of its power. The bible tells us to be strong for God is with us. The key factor is God’s presence. Connecting to His presence releases strength into your spirit man. As you are connected to the power supply, you become charged up. A person who not connected to God’s presence is devoid of power. Daniel 11:32 says ‘Those who know their God shall be strong and do great exploits.’ Conversely, those who do not know their God shall be weak and will accomplish nothing. Here, knowledge of God has connotations of intimacy and closeness with God. An intimate connection with God is the key to strength. God is your refuge and your fortress; He is your protection and your victory if you are under attack. He is your provider if you are in lack. He is your deliverer if you are oppressed. He is your shield, your strong tower and the lifter of your head: He is your salvation. He is your “I am that I AM”; He will be whatever you need Him to be. For every situation that you may find yourself in, He will make Himself relevant. It is the revelation knowledge of God’s presence and your connection to Him that causes you to be strong. God was saying ‘As long as you recognise that I am with you, you will be strong; and when you are strong you can do the work’.
Although God is with us, we often fail to maximise the power of God’s presence. As long as we are unconnected with God, we will not experience His power which strengthens us. As long as we are connected to Him, strength is available to us. God is calling us to reconnect to him in worship and submission to His purpose in order that we may build and that His glory may be revealed.
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