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A Note from the Pastor's Desk
Pastor Bob Stull
Senior Pastor,
Rev. Bob Stull
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            In the Thanksgiving season we think of the many good things God has given us.  He is the source of every good gift (James 1:17).  But there is an ever present danger with good things that can hinder us spiritually.  In Haggai we see God’s people have been returned to Israel as he promised after being exiled.  But there is a problem.  The temple or “house of the Lord” which had been destroyed was not being rebuilt.  God rebukes the people with an interesting charge.  In 1:2 they say it is not the time yet to rebuild the Lord’s house.  Yet they have apparently been able to rebuild their own homes.  In verse 3 the Lord notes how they are living in their paneled houses while the Lord’s house is in ruins.  He goes on to say in verses 6-11 that he has judged them and while they are working hard they are not reaping the fruit of their labor they might expect.  He challenges them to the rebuild the temple that he would be “honored” (Verse 8).  It was not so much the building as the witness of their priorities that was the issue.

            Why did this upset the Lord so much he was judging them for their actions?  Were they committing blatant sin?  It doesn’t say so.  It is not a sin to want to have your house to live in.  One would say that it would be expected one would concentrate on rebuilding their house and that is a good thing.  But the reality is they were, by their actions, saying God was not really their priority. Their wants and desires took priority over God.  You could say they made a good thing into an idol.  God tells them their actions did not honor him and so he cut off blessings he had given them to wake them up.  He knew his people could not have the relationship with him desired if other things were more important, even “good” things.

            So the question is, are there “good” things that we have put ahead of God?  As we give thanks for our blessings do we value them over the giver?  Would God say we honor him by the things we value? Good things in some ways are more dangerous than obviously bad ones because it easier to rationalize making good things more important than God.  And if we know our priorities are wrong are we saying we will address that but later, like Israel, with their “it is not time yet”? (NIV)  May this season give us open eyes to really see our blessings but also the place we have given them in relation to God.

                                                                                    Bob

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