Haggai 2:4 “ ‘But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.’ ”
Facing the unknown can be a scary prospect. The things we expect give a little bit of advantage because we can prepare. On the contrary, the unknown leaves plenty of room for speculation and fear. But there is a way to face the unknown with confidence: it’s by remembering that no matter the circumstances, God’s children are never alone!
The book of Ezra relates the history of the rebuilding of God’s temple. The Jewish people had languished in exile for many years as a result of their sin. After a set time, God kept His promise of restoration. A group had returned to Jerusalem and was starting to rebuild the city. Haggai prophesized during the period of time when Ezra, the priest, and Nehemiah were supervising the rebuilding of the walls, the city of Jerusalem, and the temple.
When the enemies of Judah heard that the exiles were rebuilding a temple for the God of Israel, they set out to stop the proceedings. They bribed the officials to work against them to frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus, king of Persia, and down to the reign of Darius.
You can only imagine the fear God’s people felt as they faced unknown consequences of this project. And eventually the builders became so discouraged they halted the construction. But God in His mercy reached out to them.
Through the prophet Haggai, God sent a message of correction, encouragement, and hope to a group of people who had become so caught up in the fear of the unknown that they took their eyes off God and lost their courage.
“But now be strong, Zerubbabel,” declares the Lord. “Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,” declares the Lord, “and work. For I am with you,” declares the Lord Almighty.
What an incredible sense of comfort this message must have given God’s people in those uncertain times with those uncertain circumstances.
The nation took God’s words to heart and found the courage to continue the forgotten project of building the Temple. And on the third day of the month Adar, the sixth year of the reign of Darius, the returned exiles completed the temple reconstruction and the people rejoiced.
Each of us will also regularly face unknown circumstances. In fact, no one really knows what tomorrow holds. But God does not want us to be afraid. Just as He promised to be with the returned captives laboring over a huge project, so He promises to be with us.
So when you face the scary prospect of the unknown, just remember — no matter what lies ahead, God’s message is still the same: You can face the unknown with confidence because you are never alone!