Have you ever saved up for something that you have wanted only to be let down when you finally get it? Maybe you bought a car that you were certain was going to be the best car you’ve ever owned just to find out it’s a lemon and spends more time in the shop than on the road. Did you by a new electronic item and it doesn’t do all that you hoped and expected it would? Or, you landed the new job that sounded amazing when you signed on to find that it inevitably winds up a dead-end job and one you hate.
I remember one Christmas as a young child getting a Tycco electric race car track. I was so excited when I got it. I savagely tore open the package and put the track together and began playing with it. The problem? When I clicked the remote to start the cars moving, they would engage and race down the track but when it went around the corners, no matter how fast or slow I went it would never stay on the track. A few days later one of the cars engines burned out and then I rarely, if ever, used the racetrack again. I was so let down, something I was expecting to bring such joy to my life, brought frustration and disappointment.
As adults we still get frustrated when get something that we think should bring joy and happiness fails to deliver. Sometimes we set our expectations so high just to end up frustrated and disappointed. We see this with our kids. I can’t remember how many times we bought a toy that one of the kids really, really wanted and ends up breaking within five minutes of playing with it or it didn’t work the way they expected it. No matter what age we may be, we all get frustrated, let down and angry when our expectations are not met.
Today we are concluding our 4-week series through the book of Haggai titled “When God Builds”. In our series we have looked at the events surrounding God, through the prophet Haggai, calling his people to prioritize their lives and to get back to doing the job He called the remnant to start and complete, namely rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem. In chapter 1 we talked about getting on board with what God is doing, so that we can see great things happen for His glory and for His Kingdom. Two weeks ago, we looked at chapter 2:1 – 9 where we focused on the importance of remembering the past, the danger of idolizing it, and the necessity of moving forward into the future with God. Last week we talked about chapter 2:10 – 19 and we looked specifically at what defilement and holiness mean and what the Bible says about the Holiness of God and how we become holy.
Today we will conclude this series as we talk about God’s promises and our expectations.
Haggai 2:20 -23
Vs 20- 23 “The Word of the Lord came to Haggai…” This is the fourth time in this short book that the Lord speaks to Zerubbabel through the prophet Haggai. This prophecy was spoken on the same day as the third one and God makes two declarations
1.The Kingdoms of the world would be shaken
2.The Kingdom of God would be unshaken
Zerubbabel was living in dangerous times. The work set out before him was great, if not impossible to accomplish in the current conditions. The people were frustrated and rebuilding the city walls had not begun, thus the city was vulnerable to attack.
Vs. 21- 22: I am going to… Make a name for myself
Vs 23: “On that day, I will take you Zerubbabel…”
Promises & Great Expectations
So, how does this relate to us today? God is a promise maker and a promise keeper. We are told time and again that God is trustworthy. This should be comforting and assuring to all of us since the Bible is filled with promises from God to His people and they and we live in the expectation that He will keep His promises and his fulfilled promises will not disappoint.
Promises of God
In this Minor Prophet book of Haggai, we see that God is a God who restores. He the LORD of the past, present, and future. He calls us to be committed followers of Him as we serve a Holy God, who calls us to be and makes us holy. He is a God who is faithful in making and keeping His promises. In this account the remnant of Israel believed God was at work and they responded in obedience. Thus, they had the expectation that God is going to do as He promised. He promises to shake the kingdoms of the earth and heaven. We see that God eventually shook the heavens and earth through the advent of Jesus. The people of Israel never expected the Messiah to come in the form of Jesus, but he did and what he accomplished was far greater than what they were expecting. They were expecting a conquering king who would restore the kingdom of Israel. What they got was a humble servant who gave his life so that those who believe would have eternal life. His Kingdom focus was on the heavenly kingdom and not necessarily the earthly
The word expectation means: “A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.” So, are we entitled to receive the blessings of God? As children of God we are entitled to the promises because Jesus has given us this right.
So, the question could be asked, is it wrong to have expectations of God?
Should we expect blessings from God? Should we pray expectant prayers? Is it ok to ask for something from God and expect Him to deliver? The answer lies in another question, “What is your motivation?” Are you expecting God to do great things for you because…
We should expect great things from God because He is the originator of greatness. When we pray, we should expect God to respond. Jesus tells us to ask and receive. However, we have to check our motives with our expectations. When we pray according to God’s will He will always exceed our expectations. He may not answer the way you want, but He has a bigger plan in store than you can imagine. God knows what is best for us and we need to submit our wills to His.
I have already talked about the promises that God has made, and we should expect to receive theses promises based solely on the fact that God is trustworthy, Jesus is faithful, and He will fulfill his promises. His promises far exceed anything we could ever ask for.
So, the question remains, “is it ok to ask God for things that He has not necessarily promised?” God has not promised everyone would have a spouse, does that mean as a single person you shouldn’t pray for one? God never promised a life of comfort, so should we not ask God for a good life? God never promised safety to every Christian, so should we not ask God for protection? God never promised His church would grow numerically, so should we not ask God to add to our flock?
The answer is a resounding NO. We need to pray period. But we need to check our motivation and motives in our asking. Is what you are asking for you pleasure only or are you seeking God’s pleasure as well. It is a known fact that when we find joy, completeness, and contentment in God alone He will bless us with the desires of our heart.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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