Timing, Turmoil, Trust.

Just before deadline - time, stress or rush concept.

Timing is everything. We are repeatedly reminded through scripture that God has a plan and we are to put our faith and trust in Him. Habakkuk was getting tired of waiting, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not save”. “Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?” The culture surrounding the time of Habakkuk was in a deep dark place far from God, they had once again forgotten who He was. From Habakkuk’s perspective things couldn’t get any worse and yet it did, God was going to use an unbelieving nation to destroy the people who turned away from God. In his prayer in chapter 3 Habakkuk calls on God to remember mercy in His wrath as He dealt with the people, Habakkuk was remembering the people who continued to follow God. Throughout this time in a culture of wickedness and unfaithfulness there were still those who stayed true to serving the Lord.

We read a similar message in the book of Zephaniah not just for a nation but also for judgment on the whole earth, “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth, declares the Lord… When I destroy all mankind on the face of the earth”. Each time I read through these books I begin to understand a little bit more of the burden that this message would have had on the prophets. Yes, these were men of God, faithful and true to His word but they were still men, they had all the same pressures of the culture and society around them. Zephaniah writes in chapter two a big part of “making it through” was their hope and faith in God, it was an attitude of humility before Him that would see them saved from the day of the Lord’s anger.

The message we read through the last pages of the Minor Prophets is one of hope and continued restoration of the relationship of God and His people. We begin to see the process of rebuilding faith in loving and forgiving God. Zechariah chapter 8 outlines the Lords promises to bless Jerusalem, verses four and five picture two generations of believers that hold the key to a change in the culture. The picture is of the (old) faithful remnant watching as the next generation of boys and girls move forward in carrying on what they have brought so far. This is a picture of hope that we must be striving towards today as we pass on our faith to the generations behind us.

A New Message

92713haggai-400x348Haggai represents the beginning of what I believe is a change of speech/message towards the people of God who have now arrived at their final destination. We can begin to read Haggai in a new light, Gods calling on Haggai is to encourage the people to live obediently and begin rebuilding the temple, this in a sense is a message to “ignite the fire” of the leaders and the people of the remnant, a great reminder of who brought them home.

Placing myself into the situation of the people finally returning to Jerusalem I may have felt a sense of relieve as I settled into a “new life”, living without having to constantly be looking over my shoulder and waiting for the next round of destruction and devastation. I like the people then would have began the process of building my own home, working towards providing for the needs of myself and my family, after all I deserved it. I think this happens all the time, we become comfortable and self-sufficient forgetting to look to God for all our needs. Haggai reminds the people tells the people to “give careful thought to your ways” The blessing of coming home came because they were faithful in putting God first during their time of wandering, Haggai reminds them that God blesses them when they put Him first. The reconstruction of the temple and their commitment to obedience is what God wanted, “”Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so I may take pleasure in it and be honored.”

God was working in the lives of the people, He was with them and worked in them stirring up their spirit so that they would begin the work of rebuilding His house. Today through the work of the Holy Spirit we can experience the same stirring, when we come before the Lord and ask Him to do a work within us or through us He according to His will accomplish great things. The words and teaching of Haggai are a great encouragement and reminder that when we put God first He will supply our every need.