Week 7 – Lessons from the Prophets Cont’d
Day 2: Zechariah and Ministry Cont’d – Glory from Rubble: Haggai 2
Although it is not addressed in the chapters of Ezra that we have been covering, you may remember that when the foundation of the temple was laid those who had seen the former temple wept because it was no where near as glorious as the old temple. After the temple was fully built and dedicated, the same issue is addressed in Haggai chapter two.
“Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: according to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:3-9)
Lesson number 8: God Keeps His Word. A beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness is found in the middle of this passage. No, the building doesn’t look like the old one, it isn’t as glorious as they remember the other one being, but God’s covenant still stands. His covenant was that He would dwell among the children of Israel, and would be their God. (Exodus 29:45,46) He made the same promise to us when He gave us the Great Commission, “…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:20) And it is reaffirmed in Hebrews 13:5, “…For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” What precious promises from our God “with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
Lesson number 9: Things Are Not Always What They Seem, We Live By Faith Not Sight. The new temple was “as nothing” compared to the old, but God had an amazing promise for the new temple.
“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.”
God was going to fill this house with His glory. In fact, it was to this temple that Christ would come. Though the former temple had been destroyed it was in this place that the Lord would give peace. Its glory would be greater than the former. In her book, “These Strange Ashes”, Elisabeth Elliot tells the story of how she spent months and months working on learning a language, putting it into writing and preparing a translation of the New Testament, only to have it all stolen and never recovered. Did she understand why this happened, why God would let so much work be put into this project only for the whole thing to be lost? No. But she understood that God had a purpose and that it isn’t always for us to know what that purpose is, but it is for us to always trust that he will bring beauty from the ashes. (Isaiah 61:3) Destruction, loss, death, the end of a ministry, are not always the end. We may not see God’s purposes, we may not know this side of Heaven what beauty He brings from the rubble. But we can trust that His promise is sure. When He says He works all things together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to HIS PURPOSE, we know that He will do just that, whether we see it or not.
So, What does all of this have to do with ministry to the fatherless? Believe it or not, we’re not off on a rabbit trail. The reality is that every single one of these nine lessons from Ezra, Haggai and Zechariah have been faced by orphan ministries. In some cases, the ministries have faced all of them, all at once. Jesus reminded us of the importance of counting the cost. Ministry to the fatherless is costly, it is not without difficulty. Your heart may be thoroughly broken before it is all over with, but God remains ever faithful. His promises still stand. God can bring glory out of rubble. Are you looking at what you can see or are you trusting?
Up Next: Day 3: Zechariah and the Fatherless
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