Friday, October 28, 2011

Have you finished building God's house? - October 28th, 2011

2 “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.’”
3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” 5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!
6“ You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” 
Haggai 1:2-6

History and Context:
Haggai ministered in the same time period as Zechariah and Ezra. The three of them worked together to motivate and lead the people in the rebuilding of the temple. At the time that Haggai comes on the scene, around 520 BC, the temple had been partially finished but the people had forgotten it. The first group of exiles who had returned to their homeland in 538 BC had immediately begun work on the temple but there was a lot of opposition from surrounding countries and they soon halted their work (Ezra 4:4-5). God used Haggai and Zechariah to bring new motivation to the people to continue the work.

The Text:
The initial word of the Lord, through Haggai, to the people of Israel, jumps right to the point. The people of Israel had already finished their own houses and so they had the comfort of shelter, but they had not finished God's house. The Lord immediately confronts them with this fact. Shouldn't God's house take at least as much priority as their own? He then reveals to them their own struggles and connects it to this fact. Although they put in a lot of work their harvest had been very low, they hadn't recieved much in return, they seemed to be losing their money out of holes in their pocket, their clothes weren't seeming to be enough. The Lord says that they need to put Him first in order to solve these issues.

The Challenge:
Under the new covenant we no longer have temples for God to live in. We do have churches, but according to the New Testament God doesn't consider the church buildings to be His house. Paul said that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He lives in our spirit. Many Christians spend a lot of time building their physical lives while their spiritual lives 'lie in ruins'. I believe this is the equivalent of what Haggai was telling the Israelites of his time. We live in our fancy houses but have let the house of God lie in ruins. We should be focusing on building our Spirit man so that we can be sure that the Holy Spirit has a comfortable, finished home to stay in.

The Prayer:
Lord, live in me, dwell in me, help me to be sure to continue to keep your house, my spirit in good shape. I want to give you a beautiful house to stay in. In Jesus' name, Amen!

No comments:

Post a Comment