Summary: A sense of dissatisfaction should lead us to find satisfaction in God alone.
When God Gets Our Attention
Rev. Brian Bill
On Monday I went out to PCS to pick up our daughter Megan after school. I arrived a bit early and was chatting with some other parents when all of a sudden I heard a mom scream and point to the floor. I looked and saw a huge black spider. A young girl was moving forward to pick it up. Someone else wondered if it was one of those fake ones. I went into action and simply stomped on it. When I lifted up my shoe, I saw a whole bunch of baby spiders scurrying across the floor. I smashed them as well while the screaming mom proceeded to jump up on a chair.
As you can imagine, this really got the attention of everyone in the hallway. A few students saw it happen and went back to tell their classmates. When the bell rang and the kids poured out of their classrooms, many already knew what had taken place. I felt like a hero! It didn’t take long for the story to grow, along with the size of the spider. Whatever the case, it shook up the students…and especially the mom on the chair! This incident certainly got our attention.
Have you ever been through an experience that God used to arrest your attention? It might not be a spider but maybe it’s been stress or the loss of someone you love, or a sin exposed in your life, or getting laid off from a job, or a relational rupture, or money worries, or family friction or maybe it’s a general sense of frustration or even futility. I want to submit this morning that a sense of dissatisfaction should lead us to find satisfaction in God alone.
We learned two truths last week from the opening verses of Haggai:
Let’s proceed and stop procrastinating
Let’s prioritize God and stop living for our own pleasure
Let’s set the context again. Because of their disobedience, the southern kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians and many were captured and brought to Babylon to live. Many of God’s prophets predicted that this captivity would not destroy the nation; it would eventually end and 70 years later God’s people would be allowed to go back home.
Last week I retold the history in my words and no doubt confused some of you, now let’s let the Word of God shed some light on the situation and the setting for the Book of Haggai. Turn to 2 Chronicles 36:15-23 and follow along as I read: “The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.
“He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. They set fire to God's temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.
“He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its Sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.
[By the way, this explains why the exile lasted 70 years; for 490 years God’s people had ignored God’s law that they were to let the land rest every seventh year (see Leviticus 25:4). God made up for this by taking all these unfulfilled Sabbath years at one time. To put it in an equation, it looks like this: 490 ÷ 7 = 70].
“In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: ‘This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you - may the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.’”