Summary: We are going to be talking about rebuilding that temple inside our hearts, that spiritual life that we so desperately, but quietly seek.
Withholding our Best
Sermon by: CH(CPT) Keith Andrews
All scripture marked ESV: The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Open your Bible’s tonight to the prophetic book of Haggai, you can find it in the Old Testament wedged between Zephaniah and Zechariah.
We are starting a series called “Rebuilding the Temple Inside Our Hearts”. Over the next three weeks, before we travel, somewhat literally, to the heart of the Babylonian Empire, we are going to be looking at the book of Haggai.
We are going to be talking about rebuilding that temple inside our hearts, that spiritual life that we so desperately, but quietly seek.
Haggai was the prophet of the Lord, in Jerusalem, following the return of the Israelite exiles. He was the prophet whose job it was to declare to the people that it was time to rebuild the temple.
All of us, in some point and time in our lives, have been met with failure.
Maybe it was as simple as a failed opportunity, like I had plenty of moments last week, on the soccer field.
Maybe it was from a failed PT test.
Maybe it was from a failed project that you were doing in school or for your platoon sergeant.
Maybe it was from a failed relationship or marriage.
Maybe somewhere along the line you lost your job.
It takes longer sometimes to rebuild than to get started in the first place.
When you begin there is always the excitement that occurs when you get motivated to do something new. There’s a sense of motivation and of determination to see it through.
But, after we have failed, we have to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and start again. It all seems harder.
This is the challenge that is facing the Israelite people.
The (Israelites) had been in captivity in Babylon for 70 years…When the Persians defeated the Babylonians in 539, Darius took over and changed the…policy concerning captive peoples…(Darius) decreed that the (Israelites) could return to their homeland and rebuild the temple. (http://bible.org)
We see this happen in the book of Ezra, chapter 3 and in chapter 4 the work ceased. It is hard to rebuild. It took the people 14 years to restart.
But then, the Prophet Haggai makes this statement from the Lord;
2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” 3 Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5 Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. (Hag 1:2-6, ESV)
As we see this statement, we read first that the people have found excuses not to build the temple.
Look at verse 2:
2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” (Hag 1:2, ESV)
The people of the Lord say to themselves, we are not ready to rebuild the temple—we don’t have enough time, we are too busy with the fields—the crops need to be harvested, the animals needs to be taken care of, and we need to store up some for the future.
They decided that it wasn’t a good time to rebuild the temple.
This is no different today, regarding our spiritual lives. We want to grow spiritually but we want to find the “right” time.
Augustine prayed, “Lord, grant me pure thoughts—but not now!”
(Bob Russell. (2003). When God Answers Prayer,.(150) West Monroe, LA. Howard Publishing Co., Inc)
Let me clue you in to something: there will never be a good time. There will always be busy schedules. There will always be a mountain of work to be done. There will always be distraction. There will be never be a good time to rebuild your spiritual life.
But, on the positive side, there will never be a better time either.
All of us have much to do...but there is never a better time to refocus your life around God’s priorities.
Here you have access to a Chapel to pray in any time you want. Here you don’t have anyone else’s schedule to plan on, except for you normal work hours—you don’t have to get kids ready for school, you don’t have to drop your spouse at work—you can spend time in prayer. You have time at night. You don’t have to be home for supper. You don’t have to do homework with the kids—you can spend extra time in prayer and Bible study.