“‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the LORD of armies.”
We all need encouragement from time to time. We all need people in our lives who can do that. I am so blessed that I have several people who serve in that role. There are a few, trusted friends who will come alongside me come thick or thin. They will tell me to take courage and keep fighting. I don’t get down very often, but when I do, I know I can turn to them for comfort.
Haggai pens these words of the Lord and tells Zerubbabel, Joshua and the people to take courage. He uses that phrase three times. But look at the end of the verse. He adds, “and work.” Similar words are used two other places. David tells his son, Solomon, these same words twice in 1 Chronicles.
1 Chronicles 28:10 reads, “‘Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be courageous and act.’” Verse 20 says, “Then David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.’”
God will give us the courage to act. Courage demands action. What is the purpose of courage unless we are stepping up to a challenge? Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to act in the face of fear. If the Lord has given us the courage we asked for, then we need to step out in faith and believe He will continue to encourage us in the process.
The people of Israel probably needed constant encouragement as they repaired the temple. It is hard to see results when you are working on it day by day. I love to see before and after pictures of projects. What you don’t see is the daily grind. That daily grind requires someone to say, “Take courage and work.”
There are many times I have the privilege to tell someone to take courage. I may not use those exact words, but that is the message. Encouragement comes in all forms. How has God gifted you to show that to someone? Ask the Lord today if there is someone in your life who needs to hear those words – take courage and work.
Be strong and take courage. Do not fear or be dismayed.