Haggai and God’s Instrumental Word

Minor Prophets, The: An Exegetical and Expository Commentary One of the big themes of Haggai is the power and efficacy of God’s word in the lives of his covenant people.  In BC 520 Yahweh, through his prophet Haggai, rebuked Israel for procrastinating and neglecting to rebuild the temple.  He also called them to renewed obedience.  And the Jews (both leaders and laymen) responded with reverence, repentance, and obedience – attitudes and actions that God’s presence and “stirring” produced in them (see Hag. 1).  Alec Motyer summarizes this well in his commentary on Haggai:

“The call to fetch timber (1:8) and build the house [temple] has met with a positive response.  The disinterested people have become the listening, obedient people.  It is to such that the Lord came with quickening power (1:14) – a quickening that promoted active obedience to the word they had begun to heed.”

“Thus a new pattern emerges: a) responding to the Word (v 12), b) encouraged by the Word (v 13), a’) quickened by the Word (v 14-15).  This sequence is deeply important, for it contains the whole truth about the crucial matter of renewal, the revitalization of God’s people.”

“When we begin to respond to the Word of God (1:12), he immediately uses his word for our further encouragement (1:13) and follows with a renewing, inward work in our spirits to mobilize us for obedience (1:14).  The word of God is his chosen instrument of renewal, in which the key human factor is obedience and the key divine factor an energizing work of God making that obedience possible.”

So in Reformed theology we say God’s Word is his primary means of showering grace upon his people.  He uses his Word to convict people of sin, fear his name, repent, believe, and move forward in obedience.  Haggai shows us God also uses his Word to bring renewal to his people – renewed repentance, renewed fear of God, and renewed obedience along with motivation to obey.  This is one big reason Paul didn’t tell Timothy (or the church today) to entertain or amuse, but to preach the word! (2 Tim. 4.2).

The above quote can be found in The Minor Prophets, volume 3, ed. Thomas McComiskey.

shane lems
covenant presbyterian church
hammond, wi

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