06 October 2004

Whose house am I building? (KN)

Quite soon I'll shake heaven and the earth, the sea and the land. I'll shake every country, the treasures of every land will come in, and I'll fill up this house with glory. (Haggai 2:6-7)

These are the words of Yahweh Elohim, the Mighty One of Israel, to the remnant of his people. He spoke through the prophet Haggai at a time when they had returned from captivity, they had built houses for themselves, but the Temple still lay in ruins.

The people had been saying to themselves, 'The time isn't right yet to rebuild Yahweh's house'. But his word to them through Haggai was, 'Is it then the right time for you to be living in your own, panelled homes while this house is a ruin?' (Haggai 1:2-3)

They'd built their own lavish homes, but done nothing to restore the Temple, the home of the Almighty himself!

And then he told them this...

Think about it! You've done a lot of planting, but there's not been much to harvest. You eat but you are never full. You drink but you're still thirsty. You wear clothes but they don't keep you warm. You earn money but you put it into a purse with holes!

Think about it! Go up to the mountains, fetch wood, and build the house so that I can enjoy it and be honoured. You expected a great deal but it turned out to be very little. You brought it home, A very fine house, I blew it away - why? Because my house lies in ruins while you're all busy with your own houses. (Haggai 1:5-9)

Does this sound familiar? We are his called-out people, we are his living Temple. But instead of building the one living Temple we've been so busy building a meeting here, a gathering there, a stream of churches, a denomination, an abomination. My friends, for almost 2000 years we have been building our own homes. We have been released from captivity and we have been building our own homes - and very nicely panelled some of them are! Expensive buildings, full-time paid staff, glossy publications, radio and TV broadcasts.

But it's not just the big names and the great denominations, we are all just as bad. My friends, until now we have almost completely ignored our Father's house, this living Temple of which we are all indispensable parts.

And his word is true, isn't it? Look how hard we have struggled to build and sustain our own efforts. Look at the ploughing and sowing and watering we have done, hoping for a good crop. How many exhausted pastors and worn-out preachers there are!

And where is the harvest? Oh, it's there all right, enough to survive, enough new people to keep our meetings ticking over, but where is the massive harvest that we looked for? We can all agree on one thing - we're not satisfied.

Why? Because our Father's house still lies in ruins while we have been building houses for ourselves. He tells us that he blew away what we brought home! Our Father did that to us! He will never accept our houses in place of his house. He will not bless our work, only his work in us.

What are we to do? We are to learn that building his house is the only goal that counts. Yahshua said, 'I will build my house'. We need to come to him, stand in his presence, repent of building our own houses, and become his labourers. We must follow him, do what he tells us, stop planning the work on his behalf, and allow him to surprise us with his plans and his way of doing things. Where will we find the materials for this work? 'Go', he said, 'to the mountains and bring wood', we must go to the holy mountain, only in his presence will we find the material to build! And we need to stick at it until the work is complete.

And what does our Father say about all this?

The silver is mine and so is the gold. The glory of this new house will be greater than the glory of the previous house. And in this place I will grant peace. (Haggai 2:8-9)

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