I read Haggai today, all two chapters of it. Yay, me!
I guess God must have read my other blog post, because I got something out of today’s reading in Haggai. I stand corrected. Chapter 1 starts with Haggai getting a word from the Lord. It’s time to rebuild the Lord’s temple, which lay in ruins. The Lord reminds the people of how they have been planting more than they harvested, essentially getting less than they invested. Did the people wonder why? The lack was due to not respecting the Lord’s house. “It’s because of you that the heavens withhold the dew and the earth produces no crops. I have called for a drought on your fields and hills—a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olive trees and all your other crops, a drought to starve you and your livestock and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get.” (Haggai 1:10-11)
When the remnant left behind after the Babylonian invasion heard this, they began to obey. The Lord was with them. By 1:14, things started rolling – the Lord “sparked the enthusiasm” (v. 12) of Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, and Jeshua, the high priest. They got the party started.
But then another word came. The Lord reminded the remnant of the glory of the former temple, something they could see for themselves. Yet it wasn’t about the outward adornment. But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid. For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken! (Haggai 2:4-9)
I gleaned several things from this passage. The Lord has a specific timing for things. This remnant, beaten and pretty destitute, began to have hope again as they rebuilt the temple. The temple represented the center of their lives as a nation. Restoring regular worship meant everything to their recovery. Secondly, when the blessings lag in our lives, perhaps it’s time to ask why. The people probably didn’t even consider asking that, fresh from the punishment of the Babylonian invasion. They knew about God’s judgment and figured it continued. This shows me that God intended to bless the survivors all along. His mercies are new every morning.
Thirdly, when the word does come – no matter what it is – obey. Get to work! God will bring the enthusiasm and inspiration and passion. Step out in faith. Our results may not meet our expectations or match the former glory, but He will take care of the rest. Get to work! God blesses our obedience. Period.
This sermon brought to you courtesy of Pastor Susan. Now everyone pass the offering plate…