TEXT: Haggai 2:10-19
Joni Eareckson Tada, who was paralyzed from the shoulders down after a diving accident at the age of 17 once said…“God is more concerned with conforming me to the likeness of His Son than leaving me in my comfort zones. God is more interested in inward qualities than outward circumstances – things like refining my faith, humbling my heart, cleaning up my thought life and strengthening my character.”
And so, what’s God’s last word to his people?
God uncovers their…(1. Reason 2. Trust 3. Faith)
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If someone carries consecrated meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’” The priests answered, “No.” 13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?” “Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.” 14 Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the Lord. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” — Isaiah 64:6 (NIV)
“It is the function of perfection to make one know one’s imperfection.” — Augustine
15 “‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the Lord.
“Numbers and the mania for metrics are therefore a critical element of secularization. Crucially for Jews and Christian, the Bible shows the link between statistics and self-trust…Called to be a separate and distinct people, our call is to the ‘narrow’ rather than the “broad’ way. For followers of Jesus, the voice of the people must never be taken as the voice of God.” — Os Guinness (Renaissance)
18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. “‘From this day on I will bless you.’”
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6
*God works on our heart
“There are two sons. One is very, very good. One is very, very bad, and they’re both alienated from the father’s heart. Each one of them wanted the father’s things, but not the father. Each one of them…think carefully…each son used the father to get what they really loved. They didn’t love the father; they used the father to get what they really loved: the status, the wealth – the things they really loved. They wanted his stuff.” — Timothy Keller (Prodigal God on Luke 15)
*God expects dependence on Him
“Be not anxious! Earthly possessions dazzle our eyes and delude us into thinking that they can provide security and freedom from anxiety. Yet all the time they are the very source of all anxiety. If our hearts are set on them, our reward is an anxiety whose burden is intolerable…The way to misuse our possessions is to use them as an insurance against the (to)morrow. Anxiety is always directed to the (to)morrow, whereas goods are in the strictest sense meant to be used only for to-day. By trying to ensure for the next day we are only creating uncertainty to-day.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Cost of Discipleship)
*God defines “blessing”
““More often than not, we want (God) to have fairy wings and spread fairy dust and shine like a precious little star, dispensing nothing but good times on everyone, like some kind of hybrid of Tinker Bell and Aladdin’s Genie. But the God of the Bible, this God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, is a pillar of fire and a column of smoke…The universe shudders in horror that we have this infinitely valuable, infinitely deep, infinitely rich, infinitely wise, infinitely loving God, and instead of pursuing him with steadfast passion and enthralled fury — instead of loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; instead of attributing to him glory and honor and praise and power and wisdom and strength — we just try to take his toys and run. It is still idolatry to want God for his benefits but not for himself.”
— Matt Chandler
John 2:19 — “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”