Anne Graham Lotz: An Open Letter to the Weary

Anne Graham Lotz: An Open Letter to the Weary

Are you weary? Weary of being isolated? Of the trouble that continues to swirl around us? Of going to church online? Of rumors, reports and revelations that are proven to be false? Just weary?

The Old Testament Prophet Haggai wrote an open letter directed specifically to those who were weary of trying to rebuild God’s house, focusing instead on their own homes. What he says seems to be relevant to those who have become so weary with life today that they have lost their heart for serving the Lord.

Read Haggai 1:1-2:23

I.   REORDER YOUR PRIORITIES:  

Haggai 1

  • According to Haggai 1:1-6, what excuses did the people have for not rebuilding the temple? Give the phrases, then rewrite them in your own words.
  • What could the “temple” symbolize today? See 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19; Acts 11:26; 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:12.
  • What priority are we to give the things of God, according to Matthew 6:33? 8:18-22? 22:34-38? 
  • What excuses do people give today for not making God a priority?
  • What rebuke did God give the people in Haggai 1:5-6 and 7-11? Rewrite His rebuke in your own words.
  • 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? Mark 8:34-37?
  • How many times does the phrase, give careful thought, appear in the Book of Haggai? Give verses.
  • Give careful thought to your ways now. Reflect on how you spend the majority of your money and your time; what preoccupies your thoughts; what your primary goals in life are; who your closest friends are.
  • Could your weariness be due to misplaced priorities? Trying to accomplish goals that are not His? What will you do to reorder your private world so that God and His agenda are first in your life? 

II. REFOCUS YOUR PERSPECTIVE:     

Haggai 2:1-9

A. Close the Door on the Past (2:1-3)

  • Reading Haggai 2:1-3 with Ezra 3:10-13, what were many of the older people focused on? Describe this in your own words, then apply it to your life.
  • What painful comparison is robbing you of joy? What things or events from your past are overshadowing the present?
  • How do the following verses encourage you? Isaiah 43:18; Ecclesiastes 3:15; Philippians 3:13-14.
  • Rewrite Matthew 6:22-23, substituting the word focus for eye(s). Explain what these verses mean in terms of our perspective.
  • Matthew 6:24 describes someone who is “cross-eyed.” In order to correct our vision, what should be our single-eyed focus? 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 1:1-11 and Daniel 9:1-4.

B. Commit Yourself at the Present (2:4-5)

  • 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 also give in verse 4?
  • 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 the following verses? Joshua 1:6-9; 1 Chronicles 28:9-10, 20; Isaiah 40:27-31; 50:4; Jeremiah 31:25; Matthew 11:28; John 17:4; Galatians 6:9.

C. Open Your Eyes to Him

  • What did God say to those who were so focused on the past that they were blinded to the future? See Haggai 2:9.
  • In what specific way was the rebuilt temple more glorious than the original temple? See Malachi 3:1 and Matthew 21:12-14.
  • How can your “temple” be more glorious tomorrow than it is today, according to Ephesians 5:18? 2 Corinthians 3:18? 1 Peter 1:6-7? 1 John 3:2?
  • 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; 19:5-9.

III. REDIRECT YOUR PURPOSE: 

Haggai 2:10-19

  • From Haggai 2:10-12, give phrases that indicate righteousness is not contagious.
  • From the following verses, what can we do to intentionally impart righteousness to others? Genesis 6:8-9; 15:6; Psalm 35:28; Philippians 3:9 with Romans 1:17 and 10:17; 2 Timothy 3:16.
  • From Haggai 2:13-14, give phrases that indicate sin is contagious. What can you do to stop sin from spreading?
  • From Haggai 2:15-19, how had God dealt with Judah’s sin?  
  • How are these principles underscored by Deuteronomy 28:1-8 and 28:15-25?
  • Apply these principles to your life … and to the nation. How have you experienced the consequences of righteousness? Of sin?
  • How are these consequences motivating factors that help us overcome weariness and put God first?
  • Give the phrase in Haggai 2:10-23 that reveals 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; Acts 2:22-24, 36-38; 1 John 1:9; 2:1-6.
  • How is this confirmed by Peter’s experience in Mark 14:66-72 and John 21:7-8, 15-22?
  • Would you thank God for giving you another chance by taking the chance? Redirect your life’s purpose to live for His glory alone.

IV. RECLAIM YOUR PRIVILEGE:   

Haggai 2:20-23

  • 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 to you and me? See John 15:14-16; Romans 8:14-17; 1 John 3:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; Ephesians 1:4, 11-12.

“So the … Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet … . They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel … . The temple was completed” (Ezra 6:14-15).

When we look back on this era of national disasters as well as personal ones, will it be said that our work remained unfinished because we became weary of well-doing? I don’t want weariness to waste my life or rob me of my eternal reward, so I’m claiming God’s promise of strength to the weary in Isaiah 40:29. Join me as, together, we look forward to reaping eternal benefits because we refuse to quit. Instead, we continue to put God first and get on with His work. ©2021 Anne Graham Lotz 

 

This article is adapted from a study originally published in November 2006. 

Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 Years. Her newest book, “The Light of His Presence,” contains 40 of Anne’s personal prayers and is available through major booksellers and online at AnneGrahamLotz.org.

The Scripture quotation is taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version.

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