It was a loud party day, a celebration of what God had done for God’s people, marked by movement and music and food and joy. On that day the Lord spoke to Haggai. Haggai probably said, “What?” and held his hand behind his ear. ”Was that the shofar, or was that God?”
Somehow God’s voice cut right through the noise of the celebration. The message was all about God’s house, how it was rebuilt or not rebuilt. It didn’t have the grandeur it used to have. Plus, there was a ho-hum quality to the worship. God said, “How does it look to you now?” Was God trying to shame them? “You’ve given me a shack,” God said. “It’s a dump, an eyesore!”
Maybe God was hinting about something beyond the building. The second Temple wasn’t as grand as the first. But God had said, ”Don’t worry about it. I’m always with you. You’re going to be afraid. You’re going to feel . . . shaky. Then you’re going to figure out what really matters. What the treasure really is.”
We can value buildings and festivals and our right to think as we please, blowing horns and making a ruckus. We can value a way of life that is about placing ourselves over others. But during the noise of this protestation God says, “How does it look to you now?”
Not so great. I vote for the glory of God.
God, fill our spaces with your presence as we care for the most vulnerable among us. Shake us up until we begin to see what we are doing to one another and to those who are different. Allow us to see the treasure that they are. Only then will your splendor return. Amen.
Following the return from exile to Babylon, the people of God have much work to do to restore the city of Jerusalem. Haggai is one of the prophets sent by God to encourage them. God promises future material blessings for the people and a time of peace. The psalmist praises God and declares that future generations will tell the stories of God’s wonderful works. In Second Thessalonians, Paul addresses a group that is disturbed because they think they have missed the return of Christ. He assures them that they have not missed the time and admonishes them to persevere in their faith. In Luke, Jesus is asked about marriage in the resurrection, but he focuses on God as the God of the living.
Read Haggai 1:15b–2:9. When have you relied on God’s promises for the future? How did your faith in God’s provision keep you focused on the long-term goal?
Read Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21. How can you share God’s majesty and justice with the next generations?
Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17. How do you live a disciplined life, trusting in the Lord whether or not the end is near?
Read Luke 20:27-38. How can you be open to the unexpected ways God will answer your questions?
Respond by posting a prayer.