"Then Haggai, the Lord's messenger, spoke the Lord's message to the people, saying, 'I am with you, says the Lord.' So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of Hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius."If you look back at verse 1, you'll see that 23 days have passed. It took 23 days to clear the rubble away and go up into the mountains to cut lumber, But the project is now back under way. The people got back to work.
But notice the progression. Obedience came first. Obedience came before the blessing. As it says back in verse 12, "Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God." That came first before we see the beautiful statement that the Lord was with them in verse 13. Is that some kind of coincidence? Not on your life!
Turn to Matthew 28:19-20. It is the passage we call the Great Commission. But notice that it starts the same was as Haggai 1:8, "Go!" That's a call to action. For Israel, it was a call to build the Temple. In Matthew, it's a call to build the church. Let's read it, Matthew 28:19-20,
"'Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen."Notice that the promise of God's presence, of His enabling power, comes after obedience. It comes after we "Go!" We go, and Jesus blesses that going by making the disciples.
The promise rests upon obedience. They had fritted away all that time working at lesser things while God was waiting for them to "go" so He could bless them. But God never promises to bless those who sit on their duff and do nothing.
May I ask you again, are you working to build the church of Jesus Christ? Or are other things more important? Let me close with these words again from First Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." If God calls you to do something, God will bless your effort. He will see it through to the end. But you must be faithful. You must not give up. You must always abound in the work of the Lord.