I began my quiet time with the Lord this morning praying for the Church in America. The Body of Christ. That we would get back on God’s program to spread the gospel and help the helpless. That we would quit all of the fighting. That we would humble ourselves and seek the Lord’s face and turn from our wicked ways. (2 Chronicles 7:14) As I finished praying and was ready to move on to reading my Bible, I felt lead to read the book of Haggai. So that is where I turned.
It is true that the prophets of the Old Testament came to the Israelites with specific messages for specific times and that these messages are not always 100% transferable to us today. But we are clearly told in the New Testament that the things that happened back then happened as an example to us. (1 Corinthians 10) And the parallels I so often see to life today when I read the Old Testament are too close to ignore. So after praying for the Church and opening the book of Haggai the similarities between God’s people then and God’s people now were noticeably clear. The Israelites had allowed the temple of God to remain a ruin while they went about the business of taking care of their own homes.
“Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but 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.” – Haggai 1:3-6
“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.” – Haggai 1:9
God wanted them to turn their focus back to his house. He wanted them to rebuild a temple that he could “take pleasure in and be honored.” (Haggai 1:8) And what did the Israelites do when they heard this message from the Lord? “…the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God.” (Haggai 1:12)
I don’t doubt for a moment that God does not want the same thing today. For his people, the followers of Christ that make up the Church, to get with the program. His program. To turn our focus back to being the Church that Christ intended when he left us here. Spreading the gospel of salvation through Christ alone. Making disciples. Caring for the hurting and the helpless. Being the salt and the light in a lost world.