Watering the Tulips
January 28, 2015
“Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, ‘Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?’ Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Consider your ways!’” – Haggai 1:3-5
First things first – the church is not Israel and the church building is not the temple. That said, there is certainly a lesson that we can learn from the above passage. The Jews were supposed to be rebuilding the temple. Cyrus the Persian had allowed Israel to return from the Babylonian captivity for just this purpose (Ezra 1:1-4). However, opposition from their neighbors and the indifference of the Jews themselves had caused the building to cease.
Our text verse really hits home. Rather than building the Lord’s house, the people of God were more interested in building their own homes. While the temple was lying in ruins, the Jews were constructing their own “paneled houses”. In plain English, Israel cared more for their own lives and their own possessions than they did about honoring God. Can we relate?
The common mentality today is “he who dies with the most toys wins”. As unbiblical as that is, many believers have fallen into this same trap. We are often found pursuing the same wants and desires as the unbelievers around us. Is it any wonder that they don’t see a difference in us? Is it any wonder that they don’t desire what we have? In their eyes, we are the same. In their eyes, our goals are their goals. Simply, when our ambitions are the same as theirs, we aren’t properly showing the world the vanity of worldly “things” and the importance of serving God.
Paul said of his life prior to salvation, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:8-9). The things of this world should cease to be so important in our lives after we are brought to faith in Christ. Our goals…our desires…our pursuits…all these should change dramatically following regeneration. Sadly, in many circles today, Christianity is seen as nothing more than a means to gain the things that Paul counted as rubbish. Jesus has often become nothing more than a footnote to “religion” in hopes that the desires of the carnal mind would be fulfilled. Oh, let us never be found with such a shallow view of Christ.
Are we, as believers, truly interested in the furtherance of the Kingdom of God? Or, are our desires in this life similar to the desires we had before we were saved? Certainly, when a person is saved, they are “a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Is this us? Or, are we holding to the American dream more tightly than we are holding to Christ?
Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net . “Your App to the Gospel” can be downloaded at iTunes for iPhone, iPad and IPod Touch, Google Play for Android, the Windows Phone Marketplace, and the Windows Store for Windows 8/8.1 based tablets and computers. Please download it today!