Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 11:23 p.m. – Throughout the day, I was aware that there were bad storms and tornadoes happening in various parts of the eastern USA, in particular in the southern states, and that more bad weather was coming yet tonight. I went to bed around 9:00 p.m., but I was awakened at around 10:30 p.m. by a storm that was brewing outside. The wind was blowing through the open window, and this is what awakened me. The Lord Jesus then put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” And, then I also heard in my mind the name “Zerubbabel.” I had just finished reading the book of Isaiah earlier in the day, so I suspected the Lord was leading me to now read about Zerubbabel, which then led me to the book of Haggai. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. So, I read Haggai 1 (NASB).
Rebuild the House (vv. 1-4)
In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘This people says, “The time has not come, even the time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.”’” Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?”
Since Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God), died on a cross for our sins, rose from the dead, ascended back to heaven, and then sent his Holy Spirit to indwell the lives of his followers, the House of the Lord has been, and always will be those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, until Jesus returns. Collectively we are called “the church.” Yet, this is not to be confused with a physical building called “a church,” nor with institutions of human origin, nor with corporations under the federal government. In other words, now rebuilding God’s house, which lies in ruins, has NOTHING to do with restoring a physical building, or property, or any kind of physical structure or organization instituted of men (and women).
So, if the House of the Lord lies in ruins today and it needs to be rebuilt, what does this look like? Well, we are that house, so it has to do with our individual lives, and collectively we comprise the church, the body of Christ, so it also has to do with the church, as Christ’s body. So, what would it mean that we lie in ruins? Ruins are wrecks, devastations, decays and collapses. They are declines, deteriorations and a weakening. It means our lives are far from what they are supposed to be. It means we are not living what we say we believe, but we have fallen away from God’s design for our lives in saving us out of slavery to sin, and we have, instead, engaged ourselves in what is sinful, adulterous, idolatrous and in spiritual adultery.
Although it is certainly bad enough that God’s house lies in ruins, what makes matters even worse is that the people of God, his saints, are largely complacent about that fact. They are too busy building their own kingdoms and their own houses than they care about rebuilding (reviving) their own hearts and the hearts of others who have fallen away from pure devotion to Jesus Christ. Even though a vast majority of the church, the body of Christ, has gone the way of the world, and is following after the idols of men, instead of following their Lord in obedience, it appears that most people who call themselves Christians are not moved or grieved by this at all.
Consider Your Ways (vv. 5-9)
Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord. “You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?” declares the Lord of hosts, “Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.”
So, the Lord is calling out to his church, and he is saying, “Consider your ways.” What he is asking of his church is that we prayerfully and thoughtfully examine our lives (our hearts, actions, etc.) before Almighty God and in light of the teachings of scripture, and see if there be any wicked way in us. If there is, then we need to turn from the sin, allow the Spirit of God to revive our hearts, and turn to follow our Lord in faithful obedience, and in surrender to HIS will for our lives, from this moment forward.
As part of this heart examination, we must consider what we know of what scripture teaches and then evaluate our own lives by that standard (measurement). Most of us probably know already if we are living up to what we know God’s Word teaches regarding how we should live, but sometimes people suppress the truth through regularly ignoring the Spirit’s voice, and soon they become desensitized to all the evil which they are taking into their minds and hearts on a daily basis. So, a good measure would be Philippians 4:8 where we are told to think on what is true, pure, honorable, just, right, praiseworthy, etc. We should ask ourselves if what we are doing, watching, thinking, speaking, etc. is true, pure, right, etc. If it is not, then we need to cut it out of our lives, and we need to replace those things with what is pure, honorable, righteous, godly and holy.
In this way, we are rebuilding the ruins, because we are removing the decay and what is rotten and we are throwing out those things in the trash, where they belong, and we are building now into our lives what is pleasing to God, and what is fruitful for his kingdom, and what has eternal value rather than us working toward only what is going to pass away, such as houses that can be quickly blown away by a severe storm or a tornado. We can spend our lives working for and building what is only going to rot and decay or disappear, or we can spend our lives working for what is eternal, and for what makes a difference in our own lives and in the lives of other humans.
Reverence for God (vv. 12-15)
Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the Lord. Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke by the commission of the Lord to the people saying, “‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord.” So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the king.
If we do not obey the Lord, and if we, as his church, continue to go our own way, and to do our own thing, and to focus our hearts, passions, time and affections on what is only going to die off and disappear, while we ignore the spiritual condition of our own hearts, God will discipline (correct, judge, rebuke) us (See: vv. 10-11 omitted). I believe he is already doing that in many different ways, and that it is only going to get much more severe as we near his return. And, I believe this is because our God wants us to return to him as our ONLY Lord so that he can revive our hearts and restore us to a correct relationship with him, according to his design for our lives.
Then, when the church, which has strayed from him, has humbled herself before her God, and confessed her sins, and turned from them to follow her Lord, and to walk in his ways, he will restore and renew her. He will be with her in the work of rebuilding (transforming and restructuring) the lives of individual believers in Christ, and also the life of the church, as a whole. Our God will move in the hearts of his people in this rebuilding process, and he will show the way in which this needs to take place. And, he will empower and strengthen his people to do all that is necessary to forsake sin, idols and worldly ways, and to now walk in his holiness and in his righteousness.
Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”