[Today’s devotion on overcoming fear is a part of the Weekend Word devotional series. Come back every Saturday for fresh insights from God’s Word, or follow my blog via email or WordPress to have my content sent straight to your inbox.]
Read: Haggai 2:1-5
Today’s Scripture: “This is the promise I made to you when you came out of Egypt, and My Spirit is present among you; don’t be afraid.” (Haggai 2:5, HCSB)
The young dog sat at the top of the stairs, looking down at his owner. As he wagged his tail, excited to join her, only a slight whimper betrayed his predicament: He feared going down the steps.
With a loving voice and a treat in her hand, the owner coaxed her dog down the steps. Unsure of himself, the dog scooted back and forth, then back and forth again before taking a cautious first step onto the staircase.
In this story, the dog’s fear was met with a promise — a promise of a delicious treat and loving pets from his owner. If he could conquer that fear, even if it was just one step at a time, he would get what was promised.
We can see a similar situation taking place in the book of Haggai. The Jews had recently returned to their land and had rebuilt their houses, but they hadn’t yet rebuilt the Lord’s temple (Haggai 1:2-3). They were working hard to provide for themselves, but they were seeing little return on their investment. The Lord told them that this was because His house still layed in ruins (v. 9).
They began to rebuild the temple, but it appears that Zerubabbel, Joshua, and the people needed a little encouragement. Giving them reassurance to keep going, God told them to be strong and not be afraid because His promise to the people was coming true (2:4-5).
The promise refers to Exodus 29:45-46 where God promised that He would dwell among His people. In the book of Haggai, He encourages the people to keep doing the work because as they did, they would see His promise come to pass. If they build the temple, He would dwell among them.
At times, we also need this reminder of God’s promise. Just as taking the steps down the stairs was scary for the dog, taking the steps we need to take towards God’s promises can be frightening for us. Maybe God has an exciting opportunity for you, but you need to relocate. Perhaps God wants you to get involved in a new ministry, but you worry you won’t be good enough for it. Or, God may have a new friendship prepared for you, but you’re afraid you won’t be accepted.
Whatever it is, fear can keep us from experiencing all the goodness that God has for us.
When the Jews needed the encouragement to build the temple, God was there to remind them of His promises. The next time you’re afraid to take a step out in faith, remember that you’re taking a step towards God’s promises to you.
Today’s thoughts: What has God promised you? What’s the next step you need to take toward that promise? When you think about taking that step, are you fearful? What can you do to overcome that fear?