Unfulfilled Expectations Hag. 1:9 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Hag 1:9 says, Ye looked for much, and it came to little. This is a great verse for unfulfilled expectations. With this verse in mind we want to preach on this topic of unfulfilled expectations. The problem with an expectation is that:
You even have an expectation in the first place – “Ye looked.” When you make a decision to do something, you should do it because it is absolutely necessary to do, or it is the right thing to do, or it is the will of God to do, or do it for some other compelling reason. You should not do it because you expect something specific to come from making the right decision. For instance, getting saved is the will of God. Having some expectation that getting saved is going to remove the temporal consequences of your sins is going to cause you grave disappointment. Making a decision hoping that it will encourage someone you love to make a corresponding decision that you desire them to make is going to cause you grief. Make the decision because it is the right thing for you to do regardless what they decide to do in response. Then they will never disappoint you by doing less than what you expected. Parents typically get in trouble here. They do something nice for a child hoping that he will then meet an expectation. When he doesn’t, they are devastated. The same is true with spouses and others you love. Don’t concern yourself with how you think they should respond. Jesus died for our sins with no assurance that anyone would accept his gift of eternal life. He did it because it was the will of his Father and that’s all. He knew God would be pleased and God was pleased. That’s all the joy Jesus needed.
Second, your expectation is too high – “Ye looked for much.” We often expect that when we do something all the results we hope for will be granted, particularly when we have prayed about the decision. And when we set the expectations too high and they aren’t fulfilled, we are angry and bitter with God over the results. Paul and Silas went to Philippi because that is what God directed them to do. If they had gone expecting a grand reception and a major revival they would have been sorely disappointed. Instead, after getting beat up and thrown in jail, they prayed and sang praises. They didn’t know what God was going to do but they knew they had done the right thing. That was enough. As it turned out, God performed quite a miracle with the prisoners and the keeper of the prison. You do what you must do according to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the word of God, the will of God, the peace of God, godly counsel and the providential circumstances surrounding your decision and leave the results to God.
Third, your expectation requires much more from you than a decision – “it came to little.” So often, when we commit to a decision we don’t realize how much more is going to be required of us than we expected when we made the right decision. A person rightly decides to have a particular surgery and forgets that if he wants to be 100% rehabilitated he has to do months or even years of rehab and exercise. If his expectation is that the surgery alone will take care of his problem he’s going to have a rude awakening. My father wisely decided to quit drinking but he had no idea how severely he would suffer through detox and recovery. He stayed committed to his decision because it was the right thing to do and fortunately he didn’t have any expectations that his decision would be a cake walk or grant him immediate recovery. In relationship problems some decisions require you to suffer grief and emotional pain beyond your wildest expectations. But you make those decisions because they are the right thing to do in spite of the fact that you suffer so much grief as a result of the decisions you make. I doubt that the prodigal son’s mother was very happy about her husband just letting the boy go without even checking on him or helping him when he was in trouble. There was a lot of grief and pain in that decision. But if they hadn’t done it that way then their son would have never come to himself and returned fully reconciled to God and to them.
Fourth, you can’t be satisfied with little when little is all you get – the Bible says “be content with such things as ye have.” “Having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” Why do you set your expectations so high? Usually, you set them so high because you can’t be satisfied with less. I’m not saying to settle for less because you won’t strive to be the best or to have the best. Paul told us to strive for the masteries. Israel’s farming yields were down when Haggai prophesied because they were neglecting the house of God. But when you do your best and you suffer for it like Paul did and like Jesus did you can’t let your unfulfilled expectations cause you to quit. Be content with the results of good decisions no matter how they fall out. The widow only had two mites to give and gave them all. That was small, yet Jesus said it was the greatest gift. She didn’t even know it. Don’t distress and fret over what you don’t have. Rejoice even in the little that you do have. You will find that you, indeed, have many blessings.
Conclusion: quit thinking about what “it” will be when you make a right decision or when you follow the will of God. And when the right decision involves quitting a particular sin or habit, just do it because you have decided not to do it your old way anymore regardless of what the results are. Quit looking for much and start looking for God. You will be much happier and I believe God will be more pleased.