June 21, 2011

Wedesday after Trinity Sunday

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 7, Num. 17:1-11, Lk. 1:39-56
Evening - Ps. 25, Haggai 1:1-8, 12-15, Acts 7:35-53

Commentary

The Prophet Haggai lived and ministered in Jerusalem after the return from the Babylonian Captivity. His work began in the second year of Darius, who ruled the Empire from 522-486 B.C. So Haggai began his ministry around the year 520. His message is that the Temple of the Lord must be rebuilt. Nearly leveled in the Babylonian sack of Jerusalem, Cyrus of Persia gave permission and funds to rebuild it, yet fourteen years after their release from Babylon, only the Temple's foundations have been laid.

Haggai asks the Jews why they work diligently on their own houses, yet let the House of God lie waste (Hag. 1:4). Applying this to the modern situation is easy. How fervently we see people, maybe even our own selves, building their own "houses" and neglecting the House of God. Our work, our amusements, our prosperity, our comfort, and our pleasure consume our energy and time, while day after day the Bible and Christian life are neglected. Sundays find us indulging our own pleasures while the House of God is ignored.

Haggai reminds all people that God is not blind to this, nor does He bless it. He tells the Jews their neglect of God is the reason they have sown much to the flesh (see Gal. 6:7-8) but have reaped little harvest for their labours. In the same way, people today who put their efforts into the things of the world, to the neglect of the things of God, will reap a bitter harvest. There is nothing in this world that can give happiness and purpose to life. Worldly things may give pleasure for the moment, but it fades quickly. Only God remains forever, and only those who find their happiness in Him will be truly happy, now, and for eternity.

The Jews heard the words of Haggai and repented. The Lord stirred up their hearts and they obeyed (1:12-15). Through much work, sacrifice, and, even danger, the Temple was completed. Those in our own age who have neglected the House of God will also expend much effort, sacrifice, and no small amount of spiritual danger as they try to re-establish Godly habits of life and worship. But the greatest danger of all is failure to obey. "He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Gal. 6:8).

P.S. My apologies for putting next Tuesday's readings in yesterday's Lectionary. Hope it caused no confusion.