America Recommits to Worship?

       The Lord is interested in helping you to get back on track. It's no secret many in our time have fallen out of their walk with the Lord. But in the Bible, we see a picture of hope in return to walking with the Lord. There's a picture of this in Israel's return to the Promised Land. In the Old Testament prophet Haggai, we find an amazing picture of God's mercy and long-suffering with the Israelites who returned to the Promised Land. Some 20 years earlier or so, they had returned from the lands of the East to the area of Judea, and specifically to Jerusalem. What made this significant is the blessing to rebuild the Temple, that went with it. The Persian King Darius continued to endorse that plan.

       What's amazing is that Israel returned to the Land, but did not initiate building the Temple once again beyond just the foundation work. The building structure of the Temple remained undone. Generations before, they had all built the first Temple under King Solomon, with the supplies that King David had gathered up. The Lord allowed Solomon to build it as a man of peace, commending David for the effort, but saying to wait.

       Fast forward hundreds of years. The first Temple was demolished by the Babylonian armies. Many Israelites were taken into Exile (Daniel, Ezekiel, etc.) or forced to flee to places like Egypt (Jeremiah). Now they were back in the Promised Land, but had gotten distracted by their personal agendas, self, and the world's priorities (see Haggai chapter one). 

       When the Lord spoke to those who returned, he realized they were believers. He did not speak to condemn, but to restore them to friendship with Him. The book could be called being a friend of God, or friendship with God. In a back and forth, the people recapture an active faith and live it out.

       This reveals there is hope with the Lord God. If you've been off track, you can get back on track. Do not fear. The Lord says this in Haggai 2, as much. In addition, the living God says He will "bless" in 2:19. When Israel took steps to Worship again, by rebuilding the Temple where Worship was prescribed, that showed they were investing in a walk/friendship with the Lord. God's promise to bless them, as they draw near to Him (James 4:8/John 20:22/Psalm 145:18), was one that abided or remained. Small steps to be in God's house and worship were blessed. That's a great place to be.

       Ultimately Haggai ends (much like the Book of Ruth, and to some extent the last sections of Isaiah), pointing to the Savior to come, who is Jesus Christ. Haggai tells the local Governor/local King Zerubbabel that the Lord would have the ultimate victory over the nations (Psalm 2 / Revelation 2-6; 19-21). This would be done through one of the kingly line, which included Zerubbabel too (even if you have a small part in God's kingdom, that is still incredible blessing!). See also 2nd Samuel 7 the promise to David of a King who would reign forever (clearly not just that David, but looking forward to Jesus). 

       In that look forward, Zerubbabel is compared to being "my servant," something used of kings in the lineage of the Savior-Messiah Jesus (such as by Isaiah the prophet, etc.). Zerubbabel is also a "signet" ring which symbolized that he is approved, but more importantly, that he reflects God's plan, agenda, and cause (maybe values when he is being faith filled, he's not perfect). These were pictures that offered hope to Zerubbabel **as** he stepped up to serve. It's in that action of trouble/tribulation, but pressing on anyway, that Zerubbabel is given hope. See also Romans 5, Paul explains tribulation leads to perseverance which leads to proven character which leads to hope, and hope does not disappoint. You too gain hope as you step up and press on in active faith in Jesus.

      Jesus is our fullness and true hope, Hebrews 6:19. In Him, we find hope. Jesus is a King who does not disappoint. This is also the Savior / King predicted, Jesus. Ezekiel mentions (Ezekiel 37:24) a my servant David who will be a shepherd of the people as a prediction. That is clearly David's lineage, Jesus. David had failures, Jesus did not (see Book of Hebrews). See also Psalm 110. Zerubbabel knows God's plan, despite drought, hardship, local biz problems, national politics problems, that yet God will work a way and God will bring he and Israel through it to victory. You too Christian have victory through Jesus who overcame. He is returning again, but if you trust Him by faith you're part of the victory He accomplished. Moreover, there is character formation and hope gained through all you face. If you've been on tract, draw near to the Lord Jesus, He'll restore, renew, and recommission you. Do not give up, press on. God bless.


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