“Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave the Lord’s message to the people: I am with you, says the Lord… be strong, all you people of the land, says the Lord… Work, for I am with you, says the Lord” (Haggai 1:13, 2:4, CEB).
The Lord told Haggai to encourage the people to get to work to rebuild the Temple. God encouraged them to get started and reminded them that they were able to do it because He was with them. God reminded them in both chapters of this two-chapter Old Testament book.
Now, God is with us by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. And He has an assignment for each of us that accomplishes His purposes. So, we should be bold and get to work doing His will because “I am with you, says the Lord!”
Here’s the problem: Instead of being bold, we are reticent about doing God’s will. We hesitate because we don’t know what His assignment is for us.
Or we think we don’t know. Or we think we can’t accomplish His assignment for us because it’s so overwhelming.
We’re like Gideon when God called him to defeat the Midianites because they were oppressing the Israelites: “The Lord’s messenger appeared to him and said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!’ But Gideon replied to him, ‘With all due respect, my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?… But now the Lord has abandoned us and allowed Midian to overpower us.’ Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘You have strength, so go and rescue Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not personally sending you?’ But again Gideon said to him, ‘With all due respect, my Lord, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I’m the youngest in my household.’ The Lord replied, “Because I’m with you, you’ll defeat the Midianites as if they were just one person” (Judges 6:12-16, CEB).
Sure, we know that God is with us. But when we try to accomplish God’s assignment and everything doesn’t run smoothly and we encounter problems and and no one believes us… Then we start to question if God is really with us.
We think that when God says He is with us that means no one will be against us in accomplishing our assignment from God.
We think that when God says He is with us that means others will certainly support and encourage us in accomplishing our assignment from God.
In fact, we frequently quote the verse “If God is for us, who is against us?“ (Romans 8:31, CEB ) to build our confidence. But, we continue to think that because we are doing God’s will no one will oppose us. We think because we are doing God’s will everyone will cheer us on!
Unfortunately, that’s usually not how doing God’s will works out. When you are doing God’s will, people are going to oppose you and not everyone (maybe hardly anyone) is going to cheer you on. If you don’t believe me, read some of the exploits of the Apostle Paul that he recounts in 2 Corinthians 11-12.
So, let’s rephrase the oft-quoted Romans 8:31 to illustrate what Paul means about God being for us within the context of his argument in Romans 8 that those who are in Christ live according to the law of the Spirit: If God is for us, that is, if God’s Spirit is in us, then who or what could have the power to prevent us from doing God’s will?
God never says that accomplishing His will is easy. He never promises that accomplishing His will doesn’t come without challenges.
Thus, God’s assignment for you is not dependent on whether you encounter opposition or whether anybody supports you.
Accomplishing God’s will as simple as this. If God said to do it, then get to work!
You can accomplish God’s assignment because God is with you…
No, actually you can accomplish God’s assignment because God is in you!