Saturday, May 20, 2017

Reconnecting Isn't Always Easy

Often we start a new relationship, a new job, a new hobby or project with such enthusiasm that we find joy, pleasure and purpose.  

Slowly, however, the 'drainers' come...you know them..."what are you doing?..."really?"..."you can't afford this or that..."do you really know what you are doing?"...

If we allow them (the drainers) and life circumstances to take over, then we lose our joy, our enthusiasm and instead we don't make time for our relationships, we lose pleasure and purpose in our job or project.  We can do what the Israelites did with the temple they were supposed to be building when they returned from exile after 70 years (Nebuchadnezzar had taken them to Babylon 70 years prior).

The people had started with such enthusiasm and focus.  The first wave of Israelites returned to Jerusalem after Cyrus, King of Persia had allowed them. They promptly began their rebuilding project - the Temple.  The foundation for the temple was laid in the second year of their return (Ezra 3:8-13; 5:16)  But then the naysayers, the doubters, the 'drainers' came out and caused trouble.  This caused a 16 year delay to the temple being finished.

Haggai 2: 1-5 tells us, "On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the Word of God came through the prophet Haggai: “Tell Governor Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and High Priest Joshua son of Jehozadak and all the people: ‘Is there anyone here who saw the Temple the way it used to be, all glorious? And what do you see now? Not much, right?
“‘So get to work, Zerubbabel!’—God is speaking.
“‘Get to work, Joshua son of Jehozadak—high priest!’
“‘Get to work, all you people!’—God is speaking.
“‘Yes, get to work! For I am with you.’ The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is speaking! ‘Put into action the word I covenanted with you when you left Egypt. I’m living and breathing among you right now. Don’t be timid. Don’t hold back.'" (The Msg)

To re-connect back to God the people  need to move from a resigned satisfaction with their return to the land, to an action, that is, completing the temple.

Now before anyone criticize and says - we don't need a temple (church building) today.  I agree.  Today Christians have the Holy Spirit living in them.  But let us remember the context of the times.  The people had returned from exile (not all Israelite's returned - remember Esther?)  Those who returned to Jerusalem were excited and began sacrificing to God on an altar they re-made.  They then laid the foundation of the temple and re-building proceeded until they came under persecution of the nations living around them.  

How were they going to reconnect to God and find their purpose again?  16 years after coming back from exile had passed - they were comfortable in their own homes but God's house - central to their faith was unfinished.  They felt they had much, but had very little.  

Now God moves by sending Haggai into their midst to challenge them at all levels of their society.  Civil leadership (Zerubbabel); spiritual leadership (Joshua); and community (all the people).

If we are to re-connect to God firstly we must be willing to listen and sometimes he needs to send a sharp rebuke.  Even in God's command - get to work - He comforts the people by say "I am with you".  Reconnecting is about being there and it's about work.

Your computer, as I recently found out, can't reconnect a domain name to your page unless it has the correct commands entered.  Similarly, the people couldn't reconnect to God unless they were provided with the correct leadership and that includes civil leadership as well as spiritual leadership as well as their personal relationship with God.

If Zerrubbabel and Joshua had not listened and obeyed God when Haggai spoke the Lord's message to them, then the people may very well not have listened either.  

God desired to be reconnected with His people and He desired to do so in Jerusalem at the Temple.  

Whilst reconnecting with someone is not easy, and may take work on our part, maybe even forgiveness and compassion, it can be worthwhile.  If you truly believe there is someone with whom you often pray for and think about - the friend you used to have coffee with in the early years of your children starting school, or the neighbour down the road whom you used visit, but haven't done so for a long time just because you (and they) have been so busy, then maybe it's time to think about how to re-connect.  

How?  (1) Pray - seek the Lord about the situation (2) Forgive - is there something that happened that caused the disconnection?  Give it to God and repent.  Don't let bitterness or indifference destroy your life. (3) Find a way to re-connect - invite for a coffee, or drop by and say hello. Be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the opportunities that arise.

Sometimes, making a connection again is like entering the right codes into a computer program, once the correct coding is there everything works again.

God desires to connect with you - this reconnection will transform your life!

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