Sermon – January 20, 2019
Like God’s people after the exile, God has called you to consider your ways – to consider how it is you have lived before him – and he compels you to respond in grace-filled, Spirit-fueled obedience.
1. Consider Your Complacency
God’s temple was neglected, and so by proxy we see that God himself was neither feared nor worshipped by the people. He was neglected, and the hearts of the people have been exposed. This is often how we see this expressed, no? When we misplace our priorities, when we neither fear nor worship God, but invest our time, talents, money, energy, and efforts into other things, we express the true desires of our hearts. The people of Israel have neglected the holy temple, and God calls them on it. They have prioritized the gifts over the giver of those gifts. In their ingratitude, they want to enjoy the kindness of God, and at the same time they are disregarding the memorial of it. Is it any different with us?
2. Consider Your Condition
God’s people have indulged themselves, preferring to pay special attention to their own dwelling all the while neglecting the true worship of God as the temple lies unfinished. And what has this gained them in the end? They have sown much, but harvested little. They have not yielded the crop that they thought they were going to rake in. They eat and drink, but they are never satisfied. They place their money in their pockets, and immediately it is gone. They do not have enough, and they are never full. Simply put, they have indulged in idolatry that has gained them nothing They lack money, food, crops, warmth, and comfort. Everything that they have prioritized has left them still feeling empty.
Idols do not satisfy. Consider the condition that idols leave you in. You are unsatisfied because the one who can bring true and lasting piece is neither feared nor worshipped. We are to make a beeline for Christ, because he is the one that can satisfy. He is the one who can give us living water so that we will never be thirsty again. Jesus is the one who can provide for all of your needs, and will never leaving feeling empty and alone. Run to him! He never comes up short, and he always delivers on his promises.
3. Consider Your Choices
God will not be mocked. He will not play second fiddle. He desires and demands that his creation worships him, and he has given them a manual on how to do it. He has given his very words, and these are to be taken seriously. They have a choice. Turn, repent, and get to work worshipping and serving the Lord, or continue down the path of ruin. One way leads to everlasting life and joy in fellowship with the creator, and the other way leads down a path toward everlasting destruction. Here we see him call for temporal destruction in verses 10 and 11. He withholds the dew, he withholds produce, and delivers a drought on the land. This temporal judgement foreshadows a greater judgment to come should Israel continue in this path of unbelief and selfishness. Consider your ways, he tells them. Consider your choices.
4. Consider Your Cure
The cure for Israel was turning from their sin in repentance, and trusting in the God of their fathers by faith. Friends, it is no different for us today. We have sinned. We have been complacent. We have found ourselves in a miserable condition, and we have made sinful choices. We have turned away from our creator, and selfishly pursued various idols – comfort, luxury, lust, greed, power. Even good things – family, security, friendships – we have placed them above the only one worth of worship. We find ourselves in the exact same position as Israel, and this is damning.
But, just as God sent his word to his people through a prophet Haggai, God has sent his word to his people through the prophet Jesus Christ. Just as Zerubbabel, a kingly ruler of Judah, led God’s people in obedience to his commands, Jesus, the King, has led his people through his perfect obedience to the law. And just as Joshua a high priest could once again make proper yet repeated atonement for the sin of the people at the temple, Jesus, the high priest, made atonement by his own blood. He lived a perfect life that we could not live under the law. He never pursued selfish ambitions, but freely gave of all he had. He died, taking God’s wrath against sin on the cross, so that all who would turn from their sin in repentance, and trust in him by faith would be restored to the creator. They have the right to be called children of God. This is the cure that we must consider. Consider your ways, and consider the cure.