Kia Ora Cambridge Baptist and friends from Taumarunui,
I trust you have survived your first weekend in lock down. For those guys who are finally having to do all things you told your wife you would eventually get round to doing when you had time - I feel your pain. In today’s devotion from Redeemer we see that Haggai was trying to encourage the Jews to carry through with their promise to rebuild the temple of God, but the form of encouragement he gives them is not what you would expect. To see why let's start by reading from Haggai 2:6-9
"This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
The book of Haggai was written principally for the Jewish exiles who had returned from Babylon and who were struggling to rebuild the temple of God that had been destroyed by the invading Babylonians. So it was written as an encouragement and a rallying call to rebuild the temple in spite of the desolation around them, despite the set backs and hardships they were experiencing.
But what I find fascinating is that word that Haggai brings them from the Lord to encourage them is not about future showers of blessing or picnics by the river, it is about a time in the future when God will shake the world as it had never been shaken before. Ironically, this was intended to be a comfort for people who were standing in the amidst of rubble! While this may seem difficult to get our heads around the writer of Hebrews also took comfort in this shaking of this world, as it “indicates the removal of things that are shaken … in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain … a kingdom of believers whose foundation is built on Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:26-28).
At the heart of Haggai’s message is the idea that in order for mankind to turn back to God and give him the glory and honour he is due, everything that mankind puts its faith and trust in other than God himself, must be shattered. Only then will the nations pay homage and "the treasures of all nations will be laid at His feet”.
But in here is also the idea that this shaking will reveal the one true treasure, as all other false treasures will be destroyed, the only one who can grant us peace and security Jesus Christ.
While I don’t think the COVID-19 virus, serous as it is, is the shaking that the writers of Haggai and Hebrews are talking about, there is no doubt it has shaken the world, the question is how has it shaken you and what you put your faith and trust in, or are you unshakable in spite of it? When the treasures of this world are at grave risk, does your heart fail, or does it take hold of the treasure of all nations, Jesus Christ and stand firm.
Father, help us to hold onto you and your promises when our world is being shaken; to remember that Jesus Christ experienced the earthquake of the cross, so we can stand firm in times of trouble; and to remember that while the treasures of the world may fail, you are the treasure of all nations. In Christ’s Name, Amen
May God's peace and protection be on you and your family.