Way toward the end of the old testament there’s a little book called Haggai. In this little book there is a big message. The Israelites, God’s people of the old testament, had been taken as captives. Their beautiful city of Jerusalem had been plundered and destroyed. Many years later a group returned to rebuild the city, especially the temple of God which was the place where God’s glory dwelled and where His people gathered to worship and hear His voice. They had begun the work of rebuilding the temple but had gotten discouraged, distracted, and disinterested in completing the project. So, the Lord gave the prophet Haggai a word for the people saying “This is what the Lord says.” ‘These people say, “The time has not yet come to build the temple of God.”’ The Lord goes to ask the following question, “Is it time for you to live in your nice houses and to leave My house, the temple of God, in ruins and disrepair? Consider your ways.” (Haggai 1:2,3 my paraphrase)
Now you may ask, “What does any of this have to do with me? today?” Well, let’s explore for a little. This story is about real people, in a real time, in a real place. They were not just any people, but they were God’s people. He had a real plan for them. He really desired to reconnect with them at a real place, the temple, and to reveal to them His presence and His glory. In the older covenant (old testament) there was a real, physical, tangible place where God met with his people, it was called the Temple. It was a special place, a holy place, a place of reverence and awe. Today we might think of that as the church, but that is not entirely true. A wonderful thing happened by God’s design. He sent Jesus, his one and only son, to establish a newer covenant (a promise) that through the one perfect sacrifice of his son we could connect with God in a holy relationship! We enter this promise by trusting God’s love for us and believe that He is really serious about having a real relationship with us. Through the sacrifice of Jesus we have received a better new covenant (Hebrews 8:7-13) whereby we have a living, active, always available, always present connection with God. Furthermore, Paul, the apostle, writes in 1 Corinthians 3, “Do you realize that you are the temple of God, His presence living in you?”
There is obviously more to know about all of this, but for today let’s connect a few dots. In Haggai the people started out well. They had all kinds of good intentions and had even started the work, but soon turned away to their own things. They wanted their own nice houses and their own cool stuff. They became self-focused and it seemed they weren’t particularly concerned about God! The temple and their connection with God (their spiritual wellbeing) was in disrepair. Apparently, this is an ongoing human predicament. Today, it seems kind of the same. Everyone seems more concerned about their nice house, job, education, entertainment, all the cool new stuff and on and on. Where is the place for God? We could procrastinate and say,” it’s not time yet?” Someday I will focus more on God. Sometime I will explore who He is and how much He loves me, but right now I’m busy with my stuff!
God has a wonderful, glorious, perfect plan for your life and HE desires for you to walk in something much more magnificent than your current path. His desire is to reconnect with you and for you to really know him. Hear the prophetic voice of God saying, “It’s time!”
The writer is the pastor of Christ the King Church near Jackson Center.