In this final of a three-part series in Haggai Tim Warke challenged us to consider resetting our hearts when sin persists in our lives.
Haggai’s third prophecy from God concerns the Levitical law and this is directed to the priests.
1. Keep returning
By using an example from the ceremonial food laws Haggai is saying that holiness is not contagious, but unholiness is. Whilst the people appeared to be living outwardly obedient lives, God knew their hearts were not right. They had stopped repenting and become complacent, so that whatever they offered in God’s sight was defiled.
Holiness is not about simply listening to God or doing the right things, nor can it be passed on to someone else. It is something we are to be, in God’s sight. When we stop repenting, we drift into complacent obedience and sin persists in our lives, so we need return and to keep returning to God (Cf. Zechariah 1:1-6).
2. Keep thinking
Haggai tells the people to stop, to think, to look at their lives and their situation. The material blessings, which were symbolic of deeper spiritual blessing in the Old Testament, were less than expected, so God reminds them to give careful thought to their lives and their ways from this time on.
I wonder is God using these words of Haggai to remind you and I to listen to his voice: to pause and reflect, to keep thinking, to give careful thought to our own lives?
This seems to be a turning point where God promises to bless the people, even though there were no physical signs of that happening. They simply had to trust him.
The same can be true for us – every day is a new opportunity to trust God who promises to gracious bless us.
3. Keep hoping
This message to Zerubbabel suggests the first shoots of new life and confirms that God keeps his promises for a deliverer in the line of King David (Cf. Isa 11:1-3). Furthermore, the terms ‘servant’ and ‘signet ring’ allude to royal authority and have messianic overtones, pointing forward to future fulfilment through the everlasting King Jesus.
What an encouragement Haggai’s message is for us who live on this side of the Cross to keep hoping as God continues to work out his promises through Jesus, the suffering servant and true signet ring. Only in Jesus are we able to reset our hearts when sin persists in our lives, and through him look forward to forgiveness, salvation, and everlasting hope.
Are you facing the reality of persistent sin in your life, where complacency has set in and you are simply going through the motions outwardly? Keep returning!
Remember the gracious promise of God – from this day on I will bless you? Keep thinking!
Celebrate the certainty of God’s promise of forgiveness and salvation, and that you can look forward to this for all eternity with King Jesus in heaven. Keep hoping!