|Posted by Lorraine Serra on November 20, 2010 at 10:29 AM|
I come from the land of many earthquakes, Los Angeles, California. There is nothing more terrifying than being awakened by a mighty roaring sound, and watching the walls of your bedroom bulge and rock as your bed rolls across the linoleum floor to the other side of the room.
That was my first powerful experience in 1972. In the valley to the north of us, freeway overpasses collapsed crushing many cars, a hospital was reduced to rubble and countless homes suffered severe damages. Fires, death, catastrophe, chaos.
Recently we saw the horror and the power of the earthquakes in Haiti and in Chile. There have been several major quakes this year throughout the world, along with tsunamis, typhoons and hurricanes, floods, even volcanic eruptions. The earth has most certainly been shaking, and we are helpless to prevent it.
When Haggai speaks forth the word of the Lord in verses 6 and 7 of Chapter 2 he prophecies of a time when the Lord will shake once more the heavens, the earth and the sea.
I was thinking, what does it all mean? Where did this come from all of a sudden? I mean, we left the Jews fighting feelings of great discouragement in rebuilding the temple. So how was this supposed to help?
Some scholars interpret this to be a comparison to the giving of the law to Moses on Mt.Sinai, when the mountain trembled at the voice of God and it smoked from the fire of the burning bush. (It must have been huge!) Was God reminding the Jews of His powerful presence in their lives and promising to show His power once again?
Some scholars see it as the future political destruction of the Jewish nation, and some see the final judgment at the end of the world. Probably a bit of all of this is true. To be sure it is a reminder of the power of Holy God.
But, while verse 6 bodes fearful and frightening upheavals and terror, verse 7 brings peace and the hope of glory with the promise of a special arrival: the “Desire of All Nations”.
Messiah. Jesus Christ. One commentary I read suggested this: The very inhabitants of heaven would shake with anticipation of the holy work of God to come: the wonderful entry into history of the Son of God, the Lamb who would be born, to die and rise again to forever conquer sin and death. Indeed, while the voice of God, with Christ and the Spirit present, on Mt. Sinai merely shook the mountain, the Gospel of Christ has agitated the world!
Don’t you just love that!
The Jews were nearsighted and focused only on the task before them. We, too, focus only on the present struggle at times. The burden of rebuilding the temple, this seemingly insurmountable project produced only discouragement. Understandable, don't you think?
But, they could not see the whole picture as we can in the 21st century.
Their covenant with God through Abraham only began to dispel the darkness of the age in which the Jewish nation was born. The eternal covenant of Christ Messiah would vanquish it forever.
Before Messiah came, there was a great shaking of the earth. Empires rose and fell. There was Alexander the Great, and then came the Roman Empire. There, where many kingdoms came under the rule of one empire, a star arose above the countryside and angels sang the song of salvation to shepherds in the night. The world would be forever shaken as the gospel reached to the ends of the earth, causing upheaval, division, challenging the Law with Grace, bringing conversion, health, healing, and ultimately, peace. What a picture! What a plan!
So often we experience great shakings, upheavals and even terrors in our lives. Shall we cower in fear and run into caves of despair and discouragement? Shall we forget the intimate history each of us has with our gracious Lord! Can we not trust the One who holds all power in heaven and on earth, yet still knows the number of hairs upon our heads?
There will always be tremors on the path ahead. Expect it! Do not be nearsighted. Stick to the plan!
Dear Friends. Dwelling within your temple is “The Desire of All Nations”, and what He is working within you is powerful. Stand firm.
Christ is desirable to all nations, though they don’t yet know it. Upheavals and shakings will continue until everything in creation belongs to Him, and every knee shall bow and tongue confess His Lordship. How awesome that we have already embraced Him! Be strong and fear not!
His glory far exceeds the glory of Solomon’s temple. His Holy Spirit dwelling within our temple reminds us that Christ reigns, He rules, He is near, and we can press on in His strength. Christ Jesus will reveal His glory personally in each of our lives as we Worship, Obey and Trust Him.
We belong to Him eternally.
Praise You,O Lord. You are the famous One. Great is Your name in all the earth. The heavens declare You are glorious. Desire of Nations and every heart, You alone are God!
May our hearts tremble and shake once more with immeasurable joy over our salvation. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit that your glory may be revealed in the way we live as overcomers with our vision focused ahead upon Your coming.
As we approach Thanksgiving, I encourage you to continue building your memorial of standing stones we began last week. List and praise God for all the answered prayers and faithfulness to you in the past.
I pray this Thanksgiving will have deeper meaning, and that discouragement will have no foothold.
Categories: HAGGAI STUDY