Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Building the More Glorious House

UV 537/10,000 Haggai 1 v 14 Building the More Glorious House “ And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God” It is the work of the Holy Spirit to “stir up” the people chosen of God. The Lord the Holy Spirit awakened or opened the eyes of the ruling elite, the priestly class and the rest of what was left of the nation of Israel or the “ remnant” to re-build the temple or house of God. It is not as if the God who created the vast universe needs a place to stay but it was a test of the faith and allegiance of the Jewish diaspora scattered in the Babylonian empire. The Lord stirs up the people so that they do not lead mere self-focussed lives symbolized by their “ paneled houses” (mentioned in Haggai chapter 2) but give priority to the work and worship of the Lord of hosts. Our earthly obsession with creature comforts should be replaced by a Godly obsession with the “Creator-Comforter.” There is a progression from the purely physical to the purely spiritual from Genesis to Revelation in the Bible. What is physical in the Old Testament prefigures the spiritual in the New Covenant times. The stone tablets with the Ten Commandments of Moses is replaced by the hearts and minds of people in the New Covenant on which the Holy Spirit writes the Word of God. The temple of Solomon is replaced by the more glorious temple of our living bodies, minds and spirits. In every age and every nation, the believers of the God of the Bible are but a “ remnant”. But, the Holy Spirit stirs up the hearts and minds of the Zerubbabels or the people in high office, positions of influence, responsibility and leadership, the Joshuas or the prophets, pastors, evangelists, the priestly office. The Lord also stirs the minds and spirits of the remaining members of the remnant who belong to all walks of life. He builds them up individually to be a temple of worship of the living God while each will also be a living brick in the overall edifice of the church, the Body of Christ. It is not for just the leaders or the priests to do the work of God but for all to use their good offices, both individually and collectively. Before their spirits were stirred up or their spiritual eyes were opened, the people focused on their own priorities in life. But, the Lord transformed their purpose in life. From pursuing temporal happiness symbolized by “ paneled houses”, the Lord of hosts gave them a higher vision. Formerly, the dew of heaven was withheld from them. God sent a drought upon their lands, their forests, their cattle and upon all their labour. Whatever they gathered as wages or harvest seemed to be going into empty bags with holes. There was a sense of emptiness or lack of fulfillment in their lives. As Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes, it was all like “chasing the wind.” But, now as we worship the Lord of all heaven and earth in our spirits, minds and hearts, He is glorified and dwells in and with us. We will each do the work of the Lord in His house. He blesses all of our being, our possessions and all of our labour. It will no longer be a chasing of the wind but fulfillment of His sovereign purpose for our lives. This is the more glorious temple He seeks to build. Prateep V Philip

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