The Glory of God in an Economic Recession

By: Dan Wetzel
Speaker & Personal Coach

The first speaking engagement on my schedule this year came in early January, as I challenged a local automobile dealership to “Be Great in 2008.” Little did I know the devastation the auto industry would face over the next ten months?

As we all know (and perhaps have personally experienced), the current financial crises have not been a restrictor of persons. The global economy has weakened due in part to the plummeting US economy and the New York Stock Exchange has seen record losses this year with the DOW, S&P 500 and NASDAQ all losing more than 37, 43 and 45% of its value respectively.1

Last month financial reports indicated the US has now lost more than one million jobs and the unemployment rate is nearing 10%. With a shrinking economy, loss of jobs and a stock market in decline, how can we glorify God in and through a financial recession? Simply stated…with an attitude of gratitude!

In the Old Testament book of Haggai, we read of a similar situation. The people of Israel had become more consumed with living their own lives, building their own homes and spending their own money on foolish purchases rather than the restoration of God’s house as they left it desolate and decaying.

Therefore God used the prophet Haggai to rebuke and challenge the people of God to turn their hearts and actions back to the things that pleased him – namely, restoring the Temple.

What can we learn about the character of God from Haggai and how can we apply the principles learned in our lives today?


God’s Character Revealed

1.   God is supremely sovereign
2.   God longs that his name be glorified
3.   God restores the repentant and blesses obedience


God Is Supremely Sovereign
The phrase “Lord of hosts” occurs 14 times in 38 verses. The Lord gives the divine word, controls the fortunes of his people (1:9; 2:17, 19) and nations (2:6-8), directs nature (1:10), motivates his people to action (1:14; 2:4), and establishes and deposes kingdoms (2:20-23).2 In other words, there is nothing the children of Israel have or own that is not a gift bestowed upon them from God. Even the apostle Paul acknowledges this truth in Romans 11 where he reminds the believers of God’s character by referencing Isaiah 40:13, “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” He concludes that thought with the exaltation, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever (v.36).” Which leads me to the second truth of God’s character.

God Longs That His Name Be Glorified
The people of Israel had become distracted and preoccupied by their own affairs and neglected the upkeep and maintenance of God’s Temple. Immediately after giving a rebuke to his people, God admonishes them to make their business his business so that in doing so “(He) may take pleasure in it and that (His name) may be glorified (1:7).”

God Restores The Repentant and Blesses The Obedient
The Lord exercises his supreme authority and rule over his people (1:10-11) so as to achieve the desired result that they obey his voice and fear him (1:12). He desired to bless them, but their apathy towards him became intolerable. In addition to their repentance and obedience to God’s command, the people of Israel put themselves to working hard (1:14; 2:4) building the house of the Lord so once again God’s glory would fill his house (2:7-8).


1.   When we fail to recognize and adhere to the fact that; in God, from God and through God we have our being and consequently place our own fleshly desires and agendas before God’s, then we become vulnerable to his necessary and appropriate disciplines. Those disciplines may include, but certainly are not limited to, lack of production in our lives, lack of food and subsistence and poor financial gains.

2.   Since knowing that we are the body of Christ (Ephesians 5:30) and are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), we are to put priority in righteous living. Therefore a decaying “temple” signifies a decaying relationship with God and brings defilement and shame upon name of the Lord rather than purity and holiness.3 His name is to be feared among the nations (Malachi 1:14) and anything short of that needs the continued discipline and refinement by the great Potter.

 3.   If we make God’s business our business, he promises to bless and take care of our business. Said another way, God desires to bless those who obey his commands (Deuteronomy 28). For remember, if we humble ourselves and repent of our selfishness, arrogance and sin, God promises to hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14). The blessings of God (as described in Deut. 28) will flow freely – not for our own selfish gain – but in order that his glory would fill the temple and his name (or likeness) be glorified and great among the nations!


Perhaps this year hasn’t been a “Great 08” for you? Perhaps your portfolio and the sale of your home (or lack thereof) is causing extraordinary levels of stress and anxiety within your marriage or quite simply, perhaps you have neglected putting first the building of God’s kingdom. Turn back to him today with an attitude of gratitude for who he is. Give thanks that God is slow to anger and his mercy and forgiveness are made available to you freely and without finance charges. Remember the promises of Romans 10:13 which states, “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” and Matthew 6:33 where Jesus reminds us to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all (of the necessities of life) shall be added to you.”

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and may God’s richest blessings continue to fall upon you, your family and all those under your influence in 2009!

1 “Google Finance.” 19 November 2008.>

2 English Standard Version (Study Bible). Crossway Bibles: Wheaton, 2008. 1742.

3 English Standard Version (Study Bible). Crossway Bibles: Wheaton, 2008. 1741