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May 1997


How to Overcome Disappointment

Haggai Series 2 of 4

TEXT: Haggai 2:1-9

On September 5, 1886, Charles Spurgeon began his sermon on our text with these incisive
Satan is always doing his utmost to stay the work of God. He hindered these Jews
from building the temple; and today he endeavors to hinder the people of God
from spreading the gospel. A spiritual temple is to be builded for the Most High,
and if by any means the evil one can delay its uprising he will stick at nothing: if
he can take us off from working with faith and courage for the glory of God he will
be sure to do it. He is very cunning, and knows how to change his argument and
yet keep to his design: little cares he how he works, so long as he can hurt the
cause of God. (The Abiding of the Spirit the Glory of the Church, September 5, 1886)
I am completely convinced of the truth of that last sentence. Satans only design is to hurt the
cause of God. To do his infernal work, he has many weapons in his arsenal. He may at one
time use greed, another time use anger or malice or false accusation, still another time use
lust, evil desires, or the temptation to revenge. But of all his weapons, none is sharper than
the one call discouragement. If only he can get the saints of God to despair over their efforts,
then his battle is already won.
A. Without a doubt there are those who struggle mightily with discouragement
and disappointment.

Perhaps you expected more from life and feel somewhat cheated by

It could be that someone who promised to love you forever has treated you
roughly, or perhaps you have suffered at the hands of your own family.

Some might feel mistreated by those with whom they work every day.

It could be that you have had more than your share of sickness and calamity and
now wish for a clam, sunny day but none is in sight.

B. Our text brings before a case study in the causes and cure of spiritual
Let me recall briefly the circumstances that called forth this little book. After returning from
exile in Babylon, the Jews commenced rebuilding the temple, then ceased the work not long
thereafter, largely because of opposition from the Samaritans. Sixteen years later God raised
up Haggai to call the people back to the task at hand. Upon his prodding, they began the

How to Overcome Disappointment Haggai Series 2 of 4

work in the autumn, likely on the 1st of Sept. in 520 B.C. Barely a month had passed and the
initial enthusiasm had waned once again. This time they were overwhelmed by the sheer
magnitude of the project and by the memories of how great Solomons temple had been. By
comparison their efforts seemed embarrassingly small. Why bother to rebuild when you end
up building a shanty on the ruins of the Taj Mahal? Such a small building could only call
attention to the past with all its glories.
The problem addressed in chapter one dealt with the Jews PROCRASTINATION in
rebuilding the Temple.
The problem addressed in the first nine verses of chapter two deals with the wrong
PERSPECTIVE in looking back at the way things used to be.
Haggai now speaks to the willing but discouraged workers.
Lets look first at the causes for their disappointmentand in so doing we will discover
something about our own personal struggles.


Our text suggests several reasons for their discouragement, most of which revolve about the
problem of a bad memory. They were guilty both of dwelling upon the negative and of
forgetting the positive altogether. Memory can be a blessing or it can be a curse.
For these Jews, it had become a heavy burden and hindered their progress.
A. Good Memory of the Wrong things vs. 1-3

Haggais second message is dated the 7th mo., on the 21st day of the mo.

The 21st of the 7th mo. is calculated to be the last day of the Feast of the
Tabernacles according to Lev. 23:39-44.
1) Usually, this is a joyous occasion of thanksgiving for the harvest.
2) That year, you will recall from 1:6, 11 the harvest was scanty.

b. This second message was about 1 mo. after Haggai received the first
message (cf. 1:1) and almost a month after the actual building of the Temple
began (cf. 1:15).

The temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. and Haggai prophesied in 520 B.C. 66
years later.

It not impossible that Haggai himself was a young boy when the glorious
first Temple was destroyed.

b. Vs.3 implies that Haggai must have seen and recalled the glorious
magnificence of Solomons Temple recognising the stark disparity between in
glorious grandeur of the two buildings.

Regardless of the grandeur, or lack of it, God was with and among the people
as they worked!

How to Overcome Disappointment Haggai Series 2 of 4

d. What was more important the Temple building or the one to whom the
Temple was built? >> TURN Mt. 23:16-22

Certainly there must have been many people over 75 who remembered the
splendour of Solomons temple and mourned for what they had lost.

Vs. 3 says, is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? There were,

indeed, a few in Jerusalem who were ancient men, that had seen the first house,
when the [new] foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud
voice; and many shouted aloud for joy (Ezra 3:12).

b. These recalled the glory of the old days and remarked at how puny this new
temple seemed by comparison. Why it hardly seems like a temple at all!
Where was the gold and silver that had marked Solomons temple?
1) It almost embarrassed them to see such a simplistic structure erected
where once the splendour of the old temple had been.
2) Perhaps it just wasnt worth the effort.
3) Maybe it would be better to simply live with the happy memories of the
good old days.

Memory is a wonderful thing if you remember the right things. For memory can
be a blessing. For the Jews of Haggais day it was a curse because they not only
remembered the past, they lived there.

B. Bad Memory of the Right things Vs. 4-5


The Jews had forgotten what God had done for them at the Red Sea.

Somehow that amazing miracle seemed like only a distant memory.

b. They had forgotten how they were trapped with the Egyptian army behind
them and the Red Sea before them. Moses struck the water, the sea parted,
and they walked through on dry land. When the Egyptians followed them,
the seas came together and swallowed Pharaohs entire army.

Why did God remind them of this stupendous miracle?


Because hes the same God today that he was back then.
He still works miracles today.

b. LOOK at the end of vs. 5: My spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.
Think of the implications of that statement:
*Abraham is gone.
*Moses is gone.
*David is gone.
*Solomon is gone.

But the Holy Spirit is still here! Fear not, be strong, pick your hammer and
your chisel, and keep on working.

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1) Dont look back to the past, dont worry about who isnt here. Focus on
who is here: the Holy Spirit of God. He abides with His people forever.
2) Therefore, be encouraged. Keep moving forward. Dont be afraid to
tackle an impossible project. Dont be intimidated by daunting
God has promised to stay with us forever.
His Spirit is the fulfillment of that unbreakable promise.
We must keep on keeping on. For the Spirit remains with us!
C. Playing the Comparison Game Vs. 3
Herman, hows this new temple look to you?
Abe, when I look at it, it seems as nothing like the first one.

The old people remembered the glory of the ancient temple and wept when they
saw how puny this new temple was.

To them it seemed to represent all the failure of the past. It was living symbol
of what they had lost 66 years earlier.

b. They felt it wasnt even worth the effort to rebuild because it would never be
like the good old days.


Coupled with the slim harvest, this disappointing sight of the Zerubbabels
Temple infected others with discouragement. Around 20 BC, the building
was renovated by Herod the Great and became known as Herods Temple.

The same thing happens to us whenever we play the comparison game.


We compare our children and our wives and husbands.

b. We compare what we used to have with what we have now.


We remember the past as better than it really was so that the present seems
worse than it really is.

The comparison game is foolish and dangerous because only God can make a
proper comparison.

2Cor. 10:12-13 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that
commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among
themselves, are not wise. 13] But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the
measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us

I am reminded of the touching story about Peter and Jesus conversing in John 21.
Three time Jesus asked, Do you love me? Three times Peter answered yes, and
three times Jesus told him to feed the flock of God. Then Peter turned about and
saw John following them and asked, What about him? meaning, where does
John fit in your plans? To which Jesus replied, If I want him to remain alive until
I return, what is that to you? (John 21:15-22).

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God isnt obligated to treat us in exactly the same way He treats anyone else or is
He required to treat us today exactly as He did yesterday.

Because God is God and we are not God, He has the absolute right to do
what He pleases.

b. If you think about that fact, it renders all comparisons useless and
D. Living in the Past, downgrading the Present, and Forgetting the Future.
This is the inevitable result.
Because you live in the past, you look down on the present, you forget about Gods promises
for the future. In this case with the Jews, it meant missing Gods promise to bring even
greater glory to the rebuilt temple than it ever had during Solomons days >> SEE vs. 9.
Spiritual disappointment drains all our energy because we focus toward the past instead of
moving confidently into the future.
Our text also suggests four specific steps we must take to free ourselves from the swamp of
self-pity and the slough of despond (to use John Bunyans famous phrase).
The first step is the hardest, most basic, and in some ways the most important.
A. Let Go!

How often this lesson comes up in the spiritual life. We will never grow until we
learn to let go of the past.


In this case, the Jews had to let go of their fond memories of Solomons temple.
Until they did that, they would never make any spiritual progress.


For you it may mean letting go of some painful memory from the past that keeps
you from moving ahead.

It may mean choosing to forgive even though the other person wont admit
they did anything wrong.

b. It often will mean deliberately choosing to let go of some dream you held
onto for many years. No matter what it is whether good of bad if its
holding you back, youve got to let go of it.
In a commentary called Haggai: Some Words to Discouraged Carpenters former Pastor and
author, Ray Stedman, penned these words:
Do not stop the work because it does not compare with something that was there
in the past. This is one of the problems of Gods people. We are always looking
back to the past. We say, Oh, for the days of D. L. Moody. Oh, for the days of the
church where we came from. Oh, what we did then. And we are wistful and long
to have it just that way. But the great lesson that God wants to impress upon us is
that God always does a new and different work. The thing that is coming in the

How to Overcome Disappointment Haggai Series 2 of 4

future is always better for our present situation than the past. We do not need to
hang on to these things of tradition. God is saying, Keep on working, I am with
you. And when I am in your midst you dont need to worry about how it is going
to turn out. It may be different but it will always be better.
As hard as it may be, you have to let go.
Until you do, you can never move forward with God.
B. Look Up!

To look up means to get a new view of who God is.


Did you notice that Haggai used one particular name for God six times in these
nine verses? Its the name translated as The LORD of hosts.

If you look closely at the text, youll discover the word LORD is capitalized
because it refers to the Hebrew word Jehovah, which is Gods personal name.

b. The word hosts translates the Hebrew word tsaw-baw, which means
assembled armies ready for warfare. Our Lord is He who is sovereign over
all the powers of earth and heaven.

The LORD of hosts is an extremely strong name for God. You might even
call it a military name because it means that He is the God who is greater
than all the forces of earth and heaven.

No one can stand against him.

No one can defeat his purposes.

No one can hinder him in the least.


When the LORD Almighty goes out to do battle on your behalf, youre going to
win because he has never has lost a battle or ever will.


When David stood in the Valley of Elah facing that mighty giant Goliath, what
name of God do you think he used? Listen to his words in 1 Samuel 17:45-47.


When your God is big, the task before you will be small.

Davids God was so big that Goliath didnt seem so big to him.

b. The Jews of Haggais day had a small God so the task of rebuilding the
temple seemed overwhelming to them.
In the same way, your view of God radically effects the way you approach life.
Take a good look at the God you worship. Is he big enough to handle your problems?
If not, then you need to look up and get a new view of Godthe LORD of Hosts!
He is the Sovereign over all the powers of earth and heaven.
C. Look Ahead!
I told you in the first message from Haggai that God only sends His people in one direction
FORWARD! He NEVER sends them back to the past, and He NEVER lets them stay in one
place too long. The people of Haggais had romanticized the past and completely forgotten

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about the future. And what was that future? Verses 6-9 make four specific promises about
the future:

Vs. 6-7 The shaking of the heavens. A time of international shaking is coming
upon the world.

Its interesting to note that Hebrews 12:26-27 quotes Haggai 2:6-7.

1) NOTE also the words in vs. 6, it is a little while are NOT limited to the
immediate historical context: they refer to Gods control of historyHe
can act anytime He chooses.
2) God will make this application in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

b. At that time His voice shook only the earth, but now he has promised to
shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words yet once, it is a little
whileI will shake indicate the removing of what can be shakenthat is,
created thingsso that what cannot be shaken may remain.
1) The meaning is this: God shook the earth in the locale when he gave
Moses the law in Ex. 19:18 at Mt. Sinai.
2) Haggai said a day is coming when he is going to shake the earth again.
But the next time he will shake the heavens as well. SEE >> Rev. 6:12-17;
16:18-21 cp. Isa. 40:4 where the earths topography with be readjusted to
something like it original character.
3) The day is coming when God will shake ALL the world. A shaking
greater than any earthquake. And in that final great day everything
manmade will be destroyed. Only eternal things will remain.
Ive ever been in an earthquake, but believe I experienced a small tremor one time. To me, an
earthquake is the most terrifying natural disaster. If a tornado comes, at least you can head
for cover. But what do you do if the very ground on which you stand gives way beneath you?
Where do you go then?
The scientists say that someday a great earthquake will come to this or that part of the world.
They know these quakes are coming, only they dont know when. The Bible says the same
thing. But Haggai is talking about an earthquake greater than anything the scientists ever
dreamed about. When this one comes, the whole earth will be shaken apart and everything
in which men put their trust will be gone. Money and houses, lands and cars, buildings and
wardrobes, all of it wiped out in one brief moment. If you can see it, feel it, touch it, smell it, it
will all disappear. Suddenly shaken apart and destroyed.

In vs. 7 God will shake all nations NOT just physically, but socially and

Shake is defined in vs. 22 as the upheaval and overthrowing of empires and

nations of the world.

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b. When God promised to shake all nations with His judgment, He was
speaking of both the present judgment on evil nation coming in the next two
decades from Haggais time but future judgment during the last days.

After this shaking, what will be left? Only those things, which cannot be
shaken. Eternal things.
1) The things of the spirit. The Word of God. Your own soul.
2) Hebrews 12:28 sums it all up as, a kingdom which cannot be moved.
This kingdom is one, which is unshakable, and unmovable.

Heres the application:

Dont pin your hopes on the world system. Its going down for good. It cant last. Its going
to crumble and fall. The whole world and everything in it. According to Rev. 18 the first thing
to go will be the economic system. If you live your life for this world, in that day everything
you live for will be nothing but dust.
Therefore, if you have some moneyinvest it for God. If you have some foodshare it with
the poor. If you have some clothesgive to those who have none. If you have some water
give it to the thirsty. If you have some time on your handsspend it with the hurting. If you
have some good newsgive it to the lost.
God is saying something important to us. He is giving us an unshakeable kingdom.
Its ours. Guaranteed. Therefore, we can afford to share the things of this world with others. It
cant last much longer anyway.

Vs. 7 The Desire of All nations shall come


For many centuries Jewish and Christian commentators have agreed that this
refers to the Messiahthe worlds Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ
1) The Lord Jesus did come in preliminarily sense 500-yrs later, when He
would enter Herods Temple to fill it with His glory over turning the
tables of the moneychangers (Jn. 1:14; 2:13-16), but this was not the
restoration temple of the millennium.
2) This prophecy evidently harks back to the promise God gave in the
Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:15) promising a Messiah.

b. The phrase the Desire of all nations, is to be understood this as one of the
titles of Christ: He is the Desire of Every Nation. When Charles Wesley wrote
the beautiful Christmas carol, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, he included this
title in one of his verses:
Come, Desire of Nations, come
Fix in us your humble home;
Rise, the womans conquering Seed.
Bruise in us the serpents head.

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How is it that Jesus can be called the Desire of all nations when so many do
not believe in him? There are several answers:
1) His coming was expected by the nations as prophesised
2) His salvation is absolutely needed by all people.
3) He is admired in every nation because He has followers in every nation.
4) He is desired by all who see Him as He is.
5) He will be prized by all in the end.
6) He is the light of the Gentiles and the salvation of the earth. All kings
will one day bow before him. Thus he isand will ever bethe Desire of
All Nations.


Vs. 9 The latter glory will be greater than the former glory.

But how can that be? Is this only wishful thinking?

1) After all, Solomons temple was so vast and magnificent and this temple
seems so small and insignificant.
2) For hundreds of years this prophecy would seem impossible. But the day
would come when Jesus himself would walk through the temple
precincts in Jerusalem. He is the greater glory that God promised to
the people of Haggais day.

b. Dont miss the lesson. You never know what will come of your faithful
service for God. Some word of witness here or there, or something you do
may vastly impact someones life, who in turn may impact the world and
touch many lives for Christ.

This is a wonderful antidote to discouragement. Be faithful because you

never know who is watching and listening. You maybe the only Christian
some knows and you never know the lives you can impact through your
faithful service for Christ.
The cure for disappointment is to learn to: 1] LET GO of the past; 2] LOOK UP to get a new
view of who God is; 3] LOOK AHEAD as God only send His people in one direction
FORWARD and lastly the final step in overcoming disappointment is to
D. Get Up and Get Moving for God!

Too many of us sit around stewing in our juices when the Lord says, Get up, my
child, and do the work I have called you to do.


Thats what the Lord said to the Jews. Three times in vs. 4 God says, Be strong.
Be strong, O ZerubbabelBe strong, O JoshuaBe strong, all ye people I am
with you!


Our Lord is charging us to rise up and do the work of God. Be strong in the face
of difficulties and oppositiondo the work of God. Dont let anything stop you.
Be strong and work!

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God says I got and I am the power and I am with you!

b. God says to us, dont worry about the resources, dont worry about the
moneyHag. 2:8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.

Sometimes the best therapy for discouragement is simply rising from your seat of
despair and tackling the job in front of you.

I know a woman who is battling through a hard time. She believed it was Gods will for her
to take a course that will enable her to get an advanced degree. For months now she has been
attending classes or studying 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. In three weeks the course will be
finished. She can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Victory is within her grasp. But in a
conversation with her she sounded so weary, so tired, so worn out, and so discouraged. I said
to her, Youre out of steam, arent you? Yes, I am, she replied. I reminded her of what
Ive been telling you lately about Gods providence and Gods predestination. Nothing can
ever happen to the children of God without His express permission. Everything that happens
fits into His plan for us somehow, somewhere, some way or other. When I asked if she
believed that, she replied that she did. If you believe that, just ask God to give you strength
to take just one more step. You dont have to go for three more weeks or even three more
days. God is only asking you to take the next step. And in the taking of that step, He will give
you the strength to take the next one.
So many people live in defeat because they cant climb the steep mountain before them.
Just remember this: You dont have to climb the mountain. You just have to take the next step
with God. Hell take care of the rest. To those, young and old, who follow His perfect will and
leading His promise is, will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will
deliver you (Isa. 46:4).
Some Christians who have struggle with various problems and doubts are greatly relieved
to learn that doubt is not a sin unless it drives you away from God.
The same is true for discouragement. We are all discouraged from time to time, but that
need not be a sin unless we let it take us away from the Lord.
It may just be that I am speaking to some very discouraged and disappointed people who
wonder why God has allowed certain things to happen. Perhaps youve been through a series
of events that has shaken you deeply. Whatever you do, dont turn away from God. How will
things get better if in your despair if you reject the only fountain of hope?
Let God speak to you and pray for ears to hear His voice clearly.
This applies especially to those sinners who know not the Lord Jesus Christ.
Your disappointment may be Gods appointment to bring you to the cross for forgiveness
and salvation. Just as the Lord said in Hag. 2:5, My Spirit remaineth among you, I declare that
Gods Spirit is here today calling you to salvation. He can lead you to repentance and faith

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and give you new life. If you feel hopelesscongratulations. God specializes in saving
hopelessly lost people. He lifts the fallen and encourages those who turn to him.
I encourage you to run to the cross. Lay hold of Jesus. Rest your troubled soul in him.
Do you want to be saved? If you have the slightest desire, you can be saved today because the
Spirit of the Lord remains among us. He will save you if you cry out to Jesus with all your
Seek the Lord while he may be found. Yield to him while the Spirit woos your heart. Open
the door of your heart and Jesus himself will come in. May God grant you faith to believe in
Jesus and give you everlasting peace and hope through his Spirit who remains among us this
very day. Amen.

15 May 2011, pm River Valley BC Leixlip, Co. Kildare