Rebuilding God’s Temple – My Daily Bread!
Our reflection today is taken from the book of Haggai 1:7-8, NIV:
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored’, says the Lord.”
These words speak of the time God challenged the Nation of Israel around getting their priorities in order and the negative consequences that occur when we put other things ahead of God.
The people of Judah who had been exiled to Babylon 70 years earlier because of their disobedience to the Lord had been allowed to return to rebuild the temple and repopulate the land of Jerusalem – to reestablish God’s center of true worship on earth. After being there for about fifteen years, although they had rebuilt the altar to carry out sacrifices to the true God, they had stopped building on the temple
What happened? Well they met opposition from their neighbors who had been resettled in the land by the Babylonians. They let this opposition discourage them and they instead concentrated on building themselves beautiful homes and a comfortable living while God’s temple – the symbol of His presence at that time lay in ruins. Fear crept in and God’s people incorrectly concluded that “the time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built” (Haggai 1:2, NIV); and stopped doing the one thing that God had brought them out of exile to do!
It is interesting to note that their neighbors did not have an issue with them building homes for themselves or farming to take care of themselves, but they did take issue with re-establishing God’s center of true worship in their midst. They knew that the Jewish system worshiped only one God; which conflicted with their way of living which promoted the worship of many gods.
Saints this is no different for us today. When we come to Christ and began to live for him, oftentimes those around us do not take exception to where we live or what we do for a living; but if you are truly living for Christ you will begin to get resistance to being a follower of Christ. Like the Jews in Jerusalem at that time, you will be different and this difference has a way of exposing sin which makes others uncomfortable. Have you let what others say and think about you, stop you from doing something God has given you to do?
It’s no wonder, God was not pleased. In response, He shortened their blessings in all the works of their hands. For we are told “You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it. You expected much, but see it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops.” (Haggai 1:5-6, 9-10, NIV) By their disobedience, they became thieves in God’s temple; for they robbed God of the honor and glory due Him and failed to exalt His name.
Sound bite: when we have not made God and the things of God our priority; whatever we put our hands to will not satisfy. I know we can all think of a time when we felt that we were working hard but never getting ahead. Or wondered where our money all went, or why it’s never enough to do all the things we think we need to do. Could it be you have incomplete business of God’s that needs attending to? Pray He reveals it to you and get on task!
Message for today: Today God lives inside of each one of us who has been called to shine forth His light to this world; we are the temple. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, NIV, says “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God‘s spirit lives in you? For God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” God’s plan is still the same, that His people will bring Him glory and honor. We can only accomplish this by making God first in our lives.
The phrase “give careful thought to your ways” is a warning; it should catch our attention and cause us to reflect on our own situation with regards to God’s priorities in our lives. Saints, God has brought us out of exile and saved us to His side for many great things. Are you robbing God of the honor and glory due him by the way you live in your temple? Is your temple complete? Is He the center of your life? Has the concern of your career, family or seeking your own interest and pleasures taken precedence over God? Have you completed what He has called you to do? Are your priorities in line with God’s? What has God “blown away” in your life due to disobedience?
Fortunately for the exiles of Judah, they repented immediately and got back on task of rebuilding the temple. God encouraged them; assured them that Hee was with them (Haggai 2:43, NIV) and told them not to fear for His Spirit was among them” (Haggai 2: 5, NIV). He also promised to restore their blessings and to give them peace! (Haggai 2: 9, 19, NIV) God can do the same for you and me today! But first we must stop being thieves in our own temple; stop robbing the Lord of His honor! Make Him your first priority and God will restore His “dew of heaven” that you might bring glory to His name!
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