I found a haunting prophecy in Haggai last night. This is a pretty big deal, because I’m fairly certain this is the first time in my life I’ve ever READ Haggai. I’m not much of an Old Testament kinda gal. I start with great intentions, and as a result have read Genesis and Exodus plenty, but usually get derailed with Leviticus. I tried skipping that one this year, and as a result made it through Chronicles. The other ‘well known OT books’;Proverbs, Psalms, Isaiah, Jonah, Job, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Ecclesiastics, Song of Solomon, etc, get reviewed from time to time, but I tried reading a minor prophet once…. Ezra (because at the time I had the band ‘Better than Ezra’ stuck in my head). Reading that book did teach me one thing, I discovered a possible origin for the band name… almost any book HAD to be ‘Better than Ezra’.
A year or so later, I finally gave the obscure prophets another chance…. Probably because I could NOT fall asleep, and figured reading that might be the fastest way. Instead it gave me a LOT more to think on, and kept me up half the night….
The first line tells me it was August 29th…. Which I found amusing, because I immediately imagined a bunch of ancient families celebrating the end of their summer and gearing up for a fall harvest…. a busy season. It then went on to say in vs2 “The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.'” To which the Lord responds in vs. 3 “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!”
It was a book written more than 3000 years ago, but it might as well have been speaking about modern day America. Everyone trying to build bigger and better, accrue more, because they just don’t have the time to pour into God’s house, too busy with their own…. and complaining all the while that its not enough, and that their wages are disappearing. The thing that stood out so clearly to me is our present day church seems to me to be essentially in ruins, divided beyond recognition. Yet the Church long ago ceased being a Temple, a building, and became a people…. So our call is not near as simple as the ancient instruction to rebuild a dwelling place for the Lord. The call today is to open our eyes and see Him in every single person person we encounter, where He dwells, in HIS creation.
His longing and desire to be rebuilt in the hearts of our Nation called out to me in this book. He reminds us in vs 13 “I am with you, says the Lord! v14 (paraphrased) So He sparked enthusiasm into the hearts of the men and they began to work” In Chapter 2, I found even more encouragement, Chap 2 v3-9 (paraphrased) “Does anyone remember this house, this Temple, in its former splendor? How in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! But the Lord says ‘Be Strong, and get to work, for I am with you. In just a little while I will again shake the heaves and the earth and all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory. The future glory will be greater than the past glory, and in this place I will bring peace.'”
Finally, lest we get ahead of ourselves, in Chap 2 vs. 14 we’re reminded that everything we do and everything we have offer is nothing apart from God… Without returning to Him, and looking to do everything in/through Him our efforts will continue to frustrate, however in choosing to work with Him we will remain under His blessing.
My enthusiasm is there… the desire to rebuild is there…. It is my waiting and trusting instinct that ALWAYS takes the most work… Acknowledging that the years of pouring into my little men, planting ideas, pruning bad habits away, and feeding (and feeding and feeding and FEEDING) will require years of trusting before I can ever see a harvest, but believing it will be there. I also found a peace however, knowing that my ‘busy’ is not God’s busy…. That getting to work will always be just that, work. However, there is an excitement in knowing that His blessings began the moment we get to work, and the time is coming when this glory will surpass all that we’ve known in the past!
(P.S.: Writing this post, likely means stay tuned for my next one, when I lose my ever loving mind, and seemingly contradict everything I just said…. No judgement… mmmkay 🙂