Monday, May 05, 2008

Jesus Sums Up Haggai

The new preacher did it again. He preached from the Tanakh ("Old Testament").

Yo soy muy impressed.

I've read Haggai several times in my life, but before yesterday, I could not have told you what the book was about. But because I was exposed to this short, two-chapter book yesterday, I realize that Jesus summed it up with the simple phrase, "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33, paraphrased).

Whereas Jesus puts it in positive terms, and relates it to the spiritual kingdom of God, Haggai puts it in negative terms and relates it to the physical Temple of God:
"You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares YHWH Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands."
This also reminds me of Malachi 3:9-11 (which is often misquoted to mean that an individual will benefit from being generous - the passage actually says that the nation will benefit when its individuals are generous (which, of course, would in turn benefit most of its individuals)):
You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says YHWH Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says YHWH Almighty.
In other words, as Jesus says, seek first the Kingdom of God, and the rest will take care of itself.


A couple of side notes about our new preacher:

A woman mentioned to me that she has been made to consider moving to this church because she sees a humility in this preacher that is attractive. I don't remember her exact wording, but she added something to the effect of "He's a man of God" as opposed to one just "going through the motions".

When I told him he had a good sermon that morning, his response was to deflect the glory to God. Reminds me of Jesus' injunction to "shine your light so that the people may see the glory of the Father in Heaven" (Matt. 5:16, paraphrased).

I bless YHWH for our new preacher.

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