An Open Letter to the Weary
November 1, 2006 - Thirty pastors’ wives invited me to bring Just Give Me Jesus, a revival for women, to the New Orleans Arena on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I accepted their invitation. Four days before the revival, I met with a group of local pastors and shared with them thoughts from the Old Testament prophet Haggai. His words were directed specifically to those who were weary of trying to rebuild the Temple—God’s house—when their own homes, along with everything else, lay in ruins. The Book of Haggai has been preserved as an open letter to those who are weary of rebuilding and to those who have lost their passion for spiritual things.
by Anne Graham Lotz
Read Haggai 1:1-2:23
Reorder Your Priorities
- According to Haggai 1:1-6, what excuses did the people have for not rebuilding the Temple?
- What can the “temple” symbolize today? See 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19; Acts 11:26, 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:15.
- What are we to give first priority, according to Matthew 6:33, 8:18-22, 22:34-38?
- What excuses do people give today for not making their relationship with God a priority?
- What rebuke did God give the people in Haggai 1:5-11?
- What similar rebukes did God give others in 1 Samuel 2:29-30, Malachi 1:6-11, Matthew 6:19-21, Luke 12:16-21 and Mark 8:34-37?
- How many times does the phrase, “Give careful thought,” appear in the Book of Haggai? List the verses.
- Give careful thought to your ways now. Reflect on how you spend your money and time. What preoccupies your thoughts? What are your primary goals in life?
- Could your weariness be due to misplaced priorities—trying to accomplish goals that are not God’s? How will you reorder your private world to put His agenda first?
Close the Door on the Past
- Read Haggai 2:1-3 and Ezra 3:10-13. On what were many of the older people focused? What painful comparison is robbing you of joy?
- Read Isaiah 43:18, Ecclesiastes 3:15 and Philippians 3:13-14. How do these verses encourage you?
- Rewrite Matthew 6:22-23, substituting the word focus for eye(s). Explain these verses in terms of our perspective.
- Matthew 6:24 describes someone who is “cross-eyed.” To correct our vision, what should be our single focus? See 1 Corinthians 7:35, 2 Corinthians 11:3, Hebrews 12:2-3.
- What is one practical way we can close the door on the past, reject painful comparisons and refocus our perspective? See Nehemiah 1 and Daniel 9:1-4.
- List phrases from Psalm 27 that describe what we can do to stay focused. How will you incorporate these into your life?
- What command did God give three times in Haggai 2:4? Give the modern equivalent of each group to whom the command was given. What other command did He give? What work has God given you to do?
- What kind of strength is needed to overcome weariness in order to get back to work and complete the assignment?
- What two promises did God give to encourage the weary workers? What similar encouragement do you receive from Joshua 1:6-9; 1 Chronicles 28:9-10, 20; Isaiah 40:27-31, 50:4; Jeremiah 31:25; Matthew 11:28 and Galatians 6:9?
- Read Haggai 2:9. What did God say to those who were so focused on the past that they were blinded to the future?
- Read Malachi 3:1 and Matthew 21:12-14. In what specific way was the rebuilt Temple more glorious than the original?
- Read Ephesians 5:18, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Peter 1:6-7 and 1 John 3:2-3. How can your “temple” be more glorious tomorrow than today?
- What is the ultimate glory that is our hope for the future? See Ephesians 1:18-21, John 17:24, Revelation 5:11-13, 15:1-4 and 19:5-9.
- Read Haggai 2:10-12. How does the text show that righteousness is not contagious?
- Read Genesis 6:8-9, 15:6; Psalm 35:28; and Philippians 3:9 with Romans 1:17, 10:17 and 2 Timothy 3:16. How can we purposefully direct others toward God’s righteousness?
- Read Haggai 2:13-14. Give phrases that indicate sin is contagious. What can you do to stop sin from spreading in your life? Your family? Your city and country? The world?
- How did God deal with Judah’s sin in Haggai 2:15-19?
- How are these principles underscored by Deuteronomy 28:1-8 and 28:15-25? How have you experienced the consequences of righteousness? Of sin?
- How are these consequences motivating factors that help us to overcome weariness and to put God first?
- Give the phrase in Haggai 2:10-23 that reveals that God is the God of second chances. If your life is marred by sin and its consequences, how do you get a second chance from God? See Jeremiah 3:21-22 and Acts 2:22-24, 36-38.
- How does God give Peter a second chance in Mark 14:66-72 and John 21:7-8, 15-22?
- Would you thank God for giving you another chance by taking it? Redirect your life’s purpose to live for His glory alone.
- What promise did God give to Zerubbabel in Haggai 2:20-22? What similar promise does He give to you and me? See Psalm 27:1-3, Proverbs 16:7, Isaiah 57:14-15.
- What privileges did He give Zerubbabel in Haggai 2:23?
- What similar privileges does He give us? See John 15:14-16, Romans 8:14-17, 1 John 3:1, 1 Thessalonians 1:4.
When people look back on what you have done, what will be said of your life’s work? That it remained unfinished because you became weary of well doing? What will be said then is determined by what you do now. Don’t let weariness waste your life or rob you of your eternal reward. Get back to work—now.