[God said,] â€œSoon I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.7 I will shake the nations, and their treasures will be brought here. Then the brightness of my glory will fill this temple. 8 All silver and gold belong to me,9 and I promise that this new temple will be more glorious than the first one. I will also bless this city with peace.â€ Â Â Â Haggai 2:6-9 (CEV)
Lectionary texts: Haggai 1:15-2:9, Psalm 145:1-5. 17-21, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17, Luke 20:27-38
The texts this week are all about when Jesus returns. When I take any time to read the news and sense the escalating destruction, violence and evil, it seems that Jesus will be coming soon. Since the time of Paul, Christians have been expecting Jesus soon. So what does that mean to me today in 2013? What do these four texts tell me?
God is LORD. Haggai the prophet reminds the Jewish nation that is in exile that God is still LORD of all and it is He who will truly shake things up. What they are seeing with their eyes is under His control and the really good news is that while this temporary world may be destroyed, the eternal home, the new Jerusalem will be unimaginably glorious! We are blessed to have further confirmation of this in another message from God through John in Revelation 21.
Tell my children and grandchildren the truth. Psalm 145 is a song of praise that reminds me of the importance of telling what God has done in my life. My faith is very personal but it is not private.
My eight-year-old granddaughter was visiting me last week. She was here with her mother to attend the funeral of a great-aunt. That evening after attending the celebration of this Godly woman’s life, I was sitting with my granddaughter and she suddenly turned to me and said, â€œNana, I’m looking forward to going to heaven! I can’t wait to see Jesus and Uncle Bubba!â€ It’s hard to describe here the smile and joy on her face as she said this. â€œI still have a lot of things to do here. I’m just a kid so I have lots to do yet but I really can wait to see heaven!â€
As I read Psalm 145 again, I praise God that He has revealed His glory to this child. I thank Him for His inspired Word that she reads. I thank Him for people who have sown the seeds of His great love into her. And I thank my LORD that she already knows that this world is not her true home. In the years ahead of her, this will be an important truth for her to cling to.
Stay faithful. 2 Thessalonians 2 admonishes me to stay faithful to what Jesus has taught me as His disciple. There are false teachers who will come along to try to lead me astray but if I stay in God’s Word, stay connected and accountable to other disciples, and seek God’s wisdom and guidance through His Spirit, then I will finish well this race He has given me.
It’s all about God’s relationship with me. In the Luke 20 passage Jesus not only sees the Pharisees trying to trick Him in another one of their theology ambushes but He corrects their teachings. The rewards and life that God has promised me for all eternity are not based on my relationships in this life and what I have accumulated in this life but on my relationship with God. It will not matter who I was married to here on earth but am I truly Jesus’ bride, faithful in my relationship to Him.
As my granddaughter reminded me, I have much to do here yet. God has given me a race to run, a mission in His Kingdom. But it’s a good thing to take time to consider and imagine what heaven will be like and joyfully look forward to seeing my LORD and the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) who have gone before me.
I Can Only Imagine/When We All Get to Heaven medley, original songs written by MercyMe and Eliza Hewitt, medley sung by Amy Grant