Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 18, 2012 … Overcoming 5he Tyranny of the Urgent

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 262

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Haggai, Chapters 1-2 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Haggai 1: 1-3; 14-15 : [NLT] … 1 On August 29 of the second year of King Darius’s reign [520 BC], the LORD gave a message through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 2 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: The people are saying, ‘the time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’s house—the Temple.’” 3 So the LORD sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? … 
 14 So the LORD sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of God’s people. They came and began their work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God. 15 This was on September 21 of the second year of King Darius’s reign.
Highlight Passage: Haggai 2: 6-9; 20-23 : [NLT] … 6 “For this is what the LORD Almighty says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth. I will shake the oceans and the dry land, too. 7 I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will come to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the LORD Almighty. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD Almighty. 9 The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the LORD Almighty. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken!” … 
20 The LORD sent this second message to Haggai on December 18.  21“Tell Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, that I am about to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overthrow royal thrones, destroying the power of foreign kingdoms. I will overturn their chariots and charioteers. The horses will fall, and their riders will kill each other. 23 But when this happens, says the LORD Almighty, I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will treat you like a signet ring on my finger, says the LORD, for I have specially chosen you. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken!”

Cross Reference Passage: Ezra 4: 4-5 : [NLT] … 4 [After Ezra and God’s people returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple] … Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work. 5 They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their aims. This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia and lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne. 
Cross Reference Passage: Romans 1: 21-23 : [NLT] … 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes.  
Cross Reference Passage: Ephesians 5: 15-16 : [NLT] … 15 So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.  

My Journal for Today: Where are the Haggai-type prophets today?

Today I was led, in my chronological Bible reading plan, into the book of the prophet Haggai, who was a prophet who was called to prophesy in the times of Ezra when God’s remnant of 42,000+ people had been released by the Persians from their captivity in Babylon to return and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. And returning, the people, as was the recurring pattern of the Israelites, fell into selfish habits, especially when they were challenged by resistant forces near Jerusalem (see Ezra 4: 4-5 copied above).

 But along came Haggai, anointed of God, to help Ezra whip the people into action and to refocus on the task, which was God’s will for the people. And they listened to Haggai and got back into the task which God had lain before them, … rebuilding God’s Temple for His glory. Haggai’s journal is only two chapters; and if you’re reading along with me, at least take the time to read through the passages I’ve copied above which highlight the main messages Haggai brought to the people as well as their response.

And as I studied these chapters, scriptures from the New Testament bubbled up out of my consciousness, which made me long for God to kick today’s people into gear as they hear modern-day Haggai’s preaching God’s call to action. In the NT the Apostle Paul warned Christians [see the passages in Romans 1 and Ephesians 5 copied above] to avoid letting selfish, fleshly desires or the “tyranny of the urgent,” which are worldly demands, to get in the way of fulfilling God’s will for our lives.

In Romans 12: 1-2 Paul exhorted us, as Christians, to worship our Lord with our lives as “living sacrifices,” avoiding conforming to the demands of the world, which will ALWAYS try to take us off task, … i.e., God’s will … in our lives. And Paul’s woeful prediction (again see Romans 1: 18-32) is that God will allow those who are willfully and repeatedly disobedient to have a SEASON OF SELF where He temporarily and selectively abandons those who shun His will.

But there will always be a remnant of faithful as there were in Haggai’s day; and prayerfully today we are God’s remnant, hearing the messages of the Haggai’s of our day, men like John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, and other great men of God, prophesying God’s truth today. And when these men give messages, as Haggai did, copied above, as well as Paul did in his day (see Eph. 5: 15-16) , I pray we’ll do as the remnant of believers did in Ezra’s and Haggai’s day … and that is get back on task and set aside the tyranny of the urgent as well as our pursuit of self, putting God’s will first, and pursuing a life of “living sacrifice,” which worships our Lord with the way we live.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help us hear Your call to action from Your word and from Your men today, proclaiming your truth and calling Your people to action. Amen

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