Rev. John Muhlfeld
Heaven and the New Jerusalem are not glorious because they have no taxes and perfect weather (though that may be!). They are glorious because God Himself dwells there in unshielded majesty. His presence is our ultimate security and joy, and that presence is already experienced in part through His Church. We have been made citizens of an eternal community and a beacon to the nations through the blood of Christ, who is Immanuel, God with us.
Most of life’s battles seem out of control when all you can see are the difficult circumstances around you. But in Zechariah 1, God gives us a glimpse into His “heavenly command center” where we see just how in control He really is. From His observations of the enemy’s movements to their wholesale destruction, God delivers His people through the grace of His great High Captain, Jesus Christ.
From the Garden of Eden to the present day, the source of all our problems is that our hearts and minds stray from the living God. Our sin leads us to distraction, disobedience, and disillusionment because we forsake the God who made us. In Zechariah 1, God calls us back to Himself, ultimately through the Son who was rejected that we might be received.
So often in life, we become disoriented, despondent, and delinquent because we lose sight of the big picture of what God is doing. We get so caught up in the details and struggles of our daily lives that we forget the glorious plan of our glorious God. Haggai’s final oracle reminds us of the Mighty God who will one day shake the heavens and the earth, fully redeeming His people through Zerubbabel’s greatest descendant, Jesus Christ.
In Bible-believing churches, we use terms like sin and grace all the time. We think we know what they mean but have not begun to fathom their true depth and height. In Haggai 2, God shows us how bad our sin really is so that we might understand how amazing His grace really is, ultimately through the Savior who became defiled that we might be cleansed.
Like the good Father that He is, God disciplines and corrects us when we go astray. But He also empowers us when we are weak. After taking His people to the woodshed in chapter one, God strengthens and encourages them in chapter two by reminding them of His presence and His plan. He would remain with them in power and would use them to prepare the way for the ultimate Temple, who would secure their ultimate peace, Jesus Christ. God strengthens us through the same Savior as we continue His work today.
None of us likes to be “taken to the woodshed,” that is, corrected, rebuked, or chopped down to size when our pride or foolishness gets the best of us. But as Proverbs 27 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” How much more so the word of God that painfully, yet graciously, calls us back from our comfortable disobedience? Haggai 1 demonstrates that God loves us enough to discipline us for His glory and our good through the grace of the ultimate Temple who was torn down and rebuilt, Jesus Christ!
Waiting can be hard, especially in difficult circumstances. The prophetess Anna was suffering catastrophic loss yet waited patiently for the Messiah for the better part of a century. What was her secret? Join us as we examine God’s word to see how believers today can wait well through life’s hardships while anticipating the glorious return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Many things are needed to sustain physical life but only one is needed to sustain spiritual life: the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Simeon testified at the temple, Jesus is all a believer needs to live in hope, grow in grace, and die in peace. No matter what the situation, He is enough.
Why did God announce the greatest news of all time to some of the least-respected people of the day? So the world might know that even the worst of sinners may have peace with God through Jesus Christ. God has done it all for His glory and His grace has become our joy!