I am part of a women's Bible study, and the focus of the first part of our lesson has been the book of Haggai. I must say I have been blown away by God's timing in providing the richness of His blessing through this incredible book. The history behind Haggai ironically parallels our current society. Despite God's beckoning to the mountaintops, we have taken our own methods to build opulent lives and ultimately left Him out of the process. In the book of Haggai, God calls His people, who have rebelled against His commands, back to His heart and into restoration of His temple.
The passage this morning gave me immense hope that God has brought me to this place so that He may rebuild my life to finally become His temple. I have stored up earthly treasures and filled the chambers of my heart leaving little room for God's presence and blessing. For so long I have longed for God to use me to His glory, yet I remained paralyzed with fear that I would fail my Creator. I did not trust Him to do the work for me, despite the thousands of pages of Scripture that prove otherwise.
So...back to why I am so excited!! Below is the passage that struck a very large set of chords in my heart.
"Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozdak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in you midst. Fear not. For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts." Haggai 2: 4-9
Even as I write it out, I am stunned again and left close to speechless...ok, not completely rendered without words, because I can obviously write a few. But in all candor, what a way to start the song. A promise of strength. A promise of presence. A promise of restoration. Finally....a promise of peace.
In response to this scripture, I asked myself several questions. What am I doing in my life to make room for the Holy Spirit? What detracts me from His throne room? In what other chambers do I spend my time and energy? What is He shaking out of me? What treasures does He long to reveal, and what treasures have I kept in my house? Lastly....what am I fighting against?
I have come to believe in the past few years that disbelief in God's ability to use us leads to fear and eventual stagnation. It seems easier, and sometimes less painful, to stand still and remain right where we are instead of moving out in faith that He will move and move mightily. I confess I have been and am afraid of what He will do in my life if I turn every piece over to Him. True, we never fully learn to do this until we are standing with Him in Eternal Glory. As someone mentioned yesterday, this life is often difficult, because we were not intended for eternal life on this earth and long for life outside of this. Yet while we are still here...while we are still in the pruning process...how can we experience His fulness in the midst of daily toils? What am I afraid of? What am I fighting against?
Time and time again, God has taken His people from the desert and given them more than they could have imagined. Yet time and time again, His same people begin to doubt that He can do it again. I think I have been fighting against letting go and letting God, because I clung to a lie that He would strip everything away and leave me deserted and alone. Hello lie from the pit of Hades and stinkin' up like smoke! God does not hold his children by their t-shirts, over a cliff, threatening a painful fall into darkness. Instead, He holds us in the palm of one hand, and then covers us with His other...never to be snatched away.
So why fight? I certainly can't muster up the strength to sing alone. So?? "Be strong...Work, for I am with ou...My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not...I will give peace." Now that is the promise of a new song...the promise of a new house. That is the Temple worth visiting.