Summary: Looking backward is a catalyst to look forward and provides confidence that what God began in the past he is still doing today.
Consider Your Ways: A Call to Holiness
“Look Backward… and Forward”
Big Idea: Looking backward is a catalyst to look forward and provides confidence that what God began in the past he is still doing today.
Alan was in the 9th grade. He desperately wanted the love and approval of his dad but it seemed that whatever Alan did his dad found fault rather than graciousness and applause.
Alan was in woodshop and he made a gun rack. It took him all semester and he worked meticulously on it. His plan was to give it to his dad for Christmas; he poured himself into this gift.
The day came and with great anticipation Alan gave his dad the gift. Dad looked the gun rack over. He pointed out the unevenness in the wood stain and the glue that was showing on the backside of the rack. He commented that it would only hold two guns and they probably could not be very heavy ones either. He then gave Alan a less-than-enthusiastic thanks, set it aside, and moved on to opening another gift.
Alan changed that day. Unbeknownst to his dad Alan slipped into his bedroom and wept like he had never wept before. With the weeping came a hardening and a turn inward. It was a turning point that created a spirit of rage within him that he fought the rest of his life.
We often fail to understand the impact of our words and actions. We don’t think through the damage that criticism and ingratitude does to others. We fail to grasp the seriousness of such a sin.
In today’s sermon we will discover that sin is contagious … it affects others and has ripple effects. We will also discover that some of the things we consider minor infractions have major consequences. And finally, we will discover that enriching relationships within the community of faith and building each other up are worth keeping our mouths shut.
Listen to Haggai 2:1-17 (ESV).
1 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? 4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, 5 according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. 6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’”
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, 11 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: 12 ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’” The priests answered and said, “No.” 13 Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?” The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.” 14 Then Haggai answered and said, “So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, declares the Lord, and so with every work of their hands. And what they offer there is unclean. 15 Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the Lord, 16 how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. 17 I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the Lord.