December 1, 2010

Glories--Past and Former; God Is In The Mix

The little book of Haggai, in the Old Testament,is one of my favorites.

I have never heard a sermon preached from this book, but while riding the "Bible Bus" during a multi-year study of Scripture on J. Vernon McGee's Thru the Bible radio program, I discovered a real gem in one of the passages.

I am at the end of a year, and at the end of a decade. Friends and others I know have struggled recently with what appear to be declining material resources, continuing stress, and a life that sometimes seems too difficult. It's tempting to give up hope and optimism and put our faith into the "I'm just trying to get by" and into the "holdout" catagory.

For me, energetic---"I am going after all life has to offer" faith is the only kind to hold onto. This promise from God in Haggai makes that "going after it all" faith real, do-able, and sustainable.

6 “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. 7 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. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. 9 ‘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.” --Haggai 2:6 - 9.

I love God's promise to grant peace wherever I am, whatever may be happening. Those following Haggai's words were facing diminished resources, memories of "better times", and general discouragement from having to do something that appeared too difficult to attempt. They were living in God's place, hearing from God, and receiving direction from God. Yet, they were overwhelmed. Still, God promised to grant peace right where they were. God promised them peace was not "over there". Peace from God is available, here and now.

God reminds me: "The silver is mine and the gold is mine." That doesn't mean all of these resources are in my hands at this moment; it means God will pass them on to me as I need them and keep them safe for me. I don't have to worry about getting and gaining and grabbing. That's a relief, and that relief brings peace right now, right where I am.

When I am tempted to compare the present things to the "former things", I remind myself: Regardless of how things look, God grants peace in this place. The silver and gold belong to Him, and will be passed on to me in His time and in His will.

Peace is here and now, guaranteed by God. Amen.

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