You Still Haven’t Learned
The purpose of every church and every Christian is to build the kingdom. We often talk in terms of kingdom growth. We grew the kingdom in this past year by the baptism of one person. Even one person would be an accomplishment for I know of a few churches that have had no kingdom growth in several years. Not a signal baptism in years. What a shame.
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in and be glorified, says the LORD. You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? Says the LORD of hosts; Because of My house that is ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house” (Haggai 1:7-9).
With the temple lying in ruins and the resources being used for other things, is it any wonder that God commanded the people to go up to the mountain and harvest wood that My house that is ruins may be rebuilt.
But this group of texts goes beyond the physical rebuilding of the temple, it goes on to include kingdom growth. The harvesting of the trees are not for the rebuilding the physical temple the wood is actually a symbol of adding people to the faith. Increasing the ranks of the remnant with kingdom growth.
Where does this thought come from. There are two passages in the New Testament both from the book of Revelation that shed some light on this. The backdrop to our first text in Revelation is the blowing of the fifth trumpet. Revelation 9:4, 5: “They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth or any green thing, or any tree but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.”
Before explaining the above text, let’s look at one more out of Revelation. Revelation 7:2, 3 but we will actually start in verse 1; “After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice, to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’” Ezekiel gives clarity to these two passages in chapter nine verses four and six where it further talks about those being sealed and those not being harmed. In Revelation, the trees were not to be harmed until the seal was given and in Ezekiel, those not receiving the seal were harmed. Then, the trees in Haggai are representative to those being harvested for kingdom growth.
God is commanding the people to bring wood, people, to the temple, yet uncompleted so that God may take pleasure and be glorified. It is a clear call for kingdom growth, but alas, even in this the attempted was weak. Verse nine of the first chapter renders it this way, “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? Says the LORD of hots. Because of my house that is in ruins, while everyone of you runs to his own house. Haggai continues in verse ten; “Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
Because men have squandered the talents and resources given to them by God to help with building his temple and Kingdom growth, all the manmade attempts to grow the kingdom will result in less than favorable results. The remnant will suffer loss yet they are still continent because they live comfortably and like the Laodicean church, they feel their need of nothings.
But Haggai, finished the first chapter by telling us a revival took place and starting with the leaders and then to the people, God stirred their hearts and created a new desire and they came together and worked as one on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God. They went to work, ready to rebuild the temple and ready for kingdom growth.
How about us? How about us as a people today, do we run to our paneled houses? Are we continent failing to use our God given talents to further kingdom growth, the growth of His temple within our hearts.
Are people looking to us and instead of God being glorified they are disappointed that those that carry the name of Christian, carry it in vain? If the question can be answered in the affirmative, then may we must put away self and humble ourselves and seek after the LORD of hosts.