Is there anyone who can remember this house – the Temple – as it was before?
In comparison, how does it look to you now?
It must seem like nothing at all!
Haggai 2:3 NLT
I thought last week’s topic was all I would learn from the book of Haggai since the whole book is only two chapters long. But this past week I have been haunted by a verse in the second chapter. It was the verse that screamed to be heard.
It’s a verse that proves God understands our struggle with comparison.
One of the biggest reasons I fail is because of comparison. I look at the task before me and let my fears and insecurities tell me that I will never be good enough. Even if I put the very best of me forward, it will never look as good as it would if _______________ did it. The name that fills in the blank is different every time, but the name is never mine.
Anyone out there with me on this? Even if I muster up the courage to stop saying “no” to God’s calling for my life, there’s a constant, nagging voice somewhere in the dark recesses of my brain telling me God really should have asked John Doe to do this… it would turn out much better if Sue Smith were in charge of this.
God’s people in Haggai’s day felt the same way. My study notes reveal the source of their comparison:
“The older people could remember the incredible beauty of Solomon’s Temple, destroyed 66 years earlier. Many were discouraged because the rebuilt Temple was inferior to Solomon’s.” (Life Application Study Bible, pg. 1365 re: Haggai 2:1-9)
But God doesn’t want us to be ruled by comparison. He stepped in to stop this train in it’s tracks:
“Is there anyone who can remember this house – the Temple – as it was before? In comparison, how does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! But now take courage, Zerubbabel, says the LORD, Take courage, Jeshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Take courage, all you people still left in the land, says the LORD. Take courage and work, for I am with you, says the LORD Almighty. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.” (Haggai 2:3-5 NLT)
God sees your fears and insecurity… God sees that you feel like all your work is a joke compared to someone else’s. But silence that fear. Stop the comparison. Take courage and work. Do not be afraid. Why would he tell them to keep going EVEN THOUGH they didn’t have the resources or skill of Solomon?
“For this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth. I will shake the oceans and the dry land, too. I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will come to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the LORD Almighty. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD Almighty. The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the LORD Almighty. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken!'” (Haggai 2:6-9 NLT)
Because he was building it WITH them.
I don’t need to lament that I’m not an award-winning writer as I write my weekly blog. I don’t need to have knots in my stomach as I watch someone else parent their children better than I do. I don’t need to do anything but take courage and work at the place God placed before me because HE is with me and HE will make my work incomparable.
Dear LORD, it means so much to me that you can see the insecurity in my heart and you know just how to soothe it. Thank you for reminding me that there is no comparison to working with you every day. Please carve this message into my memory so that I can stop comparing and instead live with this boldness every single day. Amen
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