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Reading: Zechariah Chapter 2

By Pastor Alex


Today I want to speak to the sincere believer, those who truly love the Lord. As Paul writes in Ephesians 6:24, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.” Beloved brother and sister, do you realize the amazing words of life God has spoken for you here in this chapter? The prophet Zechariah continues sharing the message the LORD revealed to him about 20 years after God restored Israel from exile in Babylon. They were back to their land, but much of the expectations of the grandeur that would return to their nation, specifically Jerusalem, had been met with disappointment. They had faced strong opposition in building the temple, so that the foundation was laid but the work was not close to done. Have you ever had high hopes for what God was about to do in and around you, only to find opposition and discouragement, as well as a glaring reminder of the unfinished work that now seems an impossibility?

Right into the midst of that unfinished, discouraged mess the LORD begins to speak His Word of promise to Israel. When God speaks, it truly is Light bursting into darkness. Not only does God remind them of His faithfulness and His irrevocable call, but He begins to use their shambles and their failure to reveal to them the all-sufficiency of Himself! “‘For I,’ declares the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst’” (v. 5). That is a promise of God. For the people of Israel, it was a reassurance that, though you see shambles on the outside, I’m telling you who I AM, and who I will be for you! All you need is Me, a wall of fire protecting you and the glory of My Presence dwelling with you. Israel was about to begin finishing the temple, as the LORD was calling them, but He wanted to remind them beforehand – I am with you, and I am your protection, whether the temple grandeur is here or not.

As the born-again people of God, we do not have the physical temple at all. Rather, “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you” (1 Cor. 6:19). That is the Glory that is in our midst. This promise applies to you and me today. “For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you…was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes” (2 Cor. 1:20). When you find yourself in the thick of a battle, or sinking into discouragement, will you remind yourself that He is a wall of fire around you? He is faithful. Your opposition may seem threatening and powerful, but remember this: the Spirit who dwells in you is greater than the spirit of this world, and Jesus is jealous over His church in such a way that “he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye” (v. 8). Let’s worship Him and thank Him today. Thank You, Jesus, for being the one who dwells in our midst, the one who can say, ‘the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you,’ and yet you yourself are the Lord of hosts. We give you praise, and we pray to fight each battle and every lie with the truth You have promised us. Amen!



Daily Devotional - Haggai 2/Psalms 22 By Pastor Jason Walsh “My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear” (Haggai 2:5). In 2010, Super Bowl 44 was about to begin between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts.  Tim Tebow, college football star of the University of Florida played a starring role…but not in the game, rather, in an advertisement that aired during the game. This pro-life advertisement was sponsored by Focus on the Family, and featured Tim and his mother, Pam. Pam discussed how she had almost aborted Tim, and millions of viewers watching all over the world were directed to a Web site for more information. The ad sparked controversy before it even aired, but Tim Tebow and everyone involved stood their ground!  Imagine the courage it would take to stand your ground, especially when millions of people are watching.   You see, it takes courage to obey God’s Word.  We see this in today’s reading. The date of this prophecy was the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, a harvest festival and the same holy day during which King Solomon had dedicated the original temple (Haggai 2:1). Again, the prophecy was addressed specifically to the main political and religious leaders, Zerubbabel and Joshua, and then to the people in general (Haggai 2:2). No doubt the older generations who lived during the exile, possibly including Haggai himself, remembered the original glory of Solomon’s temple. Unquestionably, the new temple was nowhere near as splendid as the old one (Haggai 2:3). God knew it, the people knew it, and the leaders knew it. In fact, the book of Ezra records that when the new temple was finally rebuilt and dedicated, shouts of joy were mixed with sounds of weeping (Ezra 3:10-13). Feeling discouraged was a natural result of recalling the nation’s and temple’s former glory and why it had been lost was due to their sin and God’s judgment of conquest and exile. In the face of these very human emotions, we often do the same thing.  We find ourselves discouraged, helpless, thinking about the past times that were so great, and asking God questions filled with pain and doubt.  But, God Himself encouraged the people to “be strong” or “take courage” (Haggai 2:4). The size and beauty of the temple wasn’t the point. The point was that God was their God all along, and He was with them once again. The same God who had delivered them from slavery in Egypt and shepherded them throughout their history (Haggai 2:5). Their responsibility was faithfully to do the work of rebuilding, not to mope around questioning and doubting and comparing their lives to the supposed “good old days.” Do you wonder where the “good old days” went? Do you think something you’ve done wrong has ruined everything?  God is telling you and I today to be strong and take courage. He is saying “My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear” (Haggai 2:5). The truth is that no matter what circumstance you are in as you read this…God is still with you. Be faithful to the work to which He has called you. Do not compare what you’re doing now to the apparent “glory” of the past. Do not compare yourself to the next person, wondering, who is the “greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:1-4). Trust that God will never leave you or forsake you and that He “will keep you strong to the end” (1 Cor. 1:8-9).  Oh…and that pro-life commercial that aired before millions of people while Tim Tebow and his mother Pam stood their ground in obedience to God…well…it ended up saving the life of an unborn baby!  That’s right, Susan Wood was at her friend’s house watching the Superbowl that day after telling her boyfriend she was pregnant.  He didn’t react well and left, leaving Susan distraught in her friends living room as Tim Tebow’s ad came on. Susan later recalled how she and the entire room reacted when the Tebow commercial aired, noting that, though they expected it to be fervently anti-abortion, the tone was quite different; the clip simply featured Tebow’s mom, Pam, sharing how the former NFL star had survived against all the odds.  Susan simply couldn’t get the ad out of her head, so when she returned home, she went on the Internet and watched a longer video on the Focus on the Family website that featured Pam and Bob Tebow explaining how they had rejected a doctor’s advice to abort Tim due to medical complications. In the end, the commercial, and that longer video explanation resonated with her. In September 2010, Susan Wood gave birth to a baby girl named Avita Grace! “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame” (Psalms 22:1-5).



Haggai 1 / Psalm 21

By Sonya Polino

Holy Spirit open our eyes to see You, our ears to hear You, our minds to receive what You are saying to us, and our hearts to be radically obedient.


The beautiful symmetry of God’s word never ceases to amaze me!  Take a small tangent with me, read Proverbs 16:33.  You may need your electronic device as the NLT version of this verse gives such a good visual that it is so clearly imbedded in my mind.  


Our prayer team leader, Mrs. Sarah Mack, after praying had put together our list of readings for a 40 day segment.  As I am sure you have noticed they simply are in order.  Mrs. Mack simply chose the starting and ending point for this segment of 40 days.  Today is day 21 and so we are reading Psalm 21.  Haggai is the next book after Zephaniah so we are reading Haggai 1.  We threw the dice, so to speak.


Now take a minute and read Haggai 1 and Psalm 21.  Isn’t it amazing how perfectly they fit together, their contrast so aligns?  “... but the Lord determines how they fall.”  He really is THAT good!  Absolutely every detail of our lives ... Hallelujah!


Take another minute and re-read our passages for today, they are both short!  What is standing out to you?  Sit in this for a minute and ask God to open your eyes, reveal deeper.  If you have a minute, let me know what the Lord is speaking to you - I would love to know!


Notice in Haggai 1:4 it states that the Israelites are living in their houses.  It does not state that they are building / repairing, or had just finished.  This tells me that the issue is not a chronological order of the repairs (first my house and then the temple), but that issue is that there is truly neglect of the temple, their house of worship.


Turn with me to 2 Samuel 7:1, “When the king had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest on every side ... the king said ....”


Now if we bring this back to the Israelites in Haggai, it might say ... When the Israelites were released from their exile and allowed to return, they settled into their houses and ... and ... what. They kept on living.


I believe the issue that the Lord through Haggai spoke was that their hearts did not turn to their God.  They were busy rebuilding their life but not allowing their heart to turn in gratitude to Yahweh, to bring Him the honor and glory.  


God is never about the physical world.  He will use it to bring about spiritual things, but He is always about the “heart of the matter”, our spirits - our eternity!  So He didn’t really care necessarily about the physical building per se.  But their hearts, they were withholding themselves from Yahweh.

Listen to King David in Psalm 21:1, “Lord, the king finds joy in Your strength.  How greatly he rejoices in Your victory!”  I feel pretty confident that there was not a correlating sentiment from the Israelites.

That is the precise difference between the Israelites in Haggai 1:6 “you have planted much but harvested little.  You eat but never have enough to be satisfied.  You drink but never have enough to become drunk.  You put on clothes but never have enough to get warm.  The wage earner puts his wages into a bag with a hole in it.” ... and David in Psalm 21:2-3 “You have given him his heart’s desire and have not denied the request of his lips.  For You meet him with rich blessings ...”


The Israelites walked into a messy, broken-down city, just recently released from exile.  I am sure there was plenty to mourn and be discouraged about.  But where was their hearts’ and eyes’ focus?


David lived a very messy life, riddled with sin and bad choices.  His family was a mess from start to finish.  David lived through battles, lots of lost lives and even thousands of lives lost directly due to his bad decisions.  Who of us could ever have walked in David’s shoes?  Who of us could have ever carried the guilt and weight of his past?  Just choose just ONE of David’s life situations and put yourself in it as David.  


I personally have long been struck by I Chronicles 13.  David’s pride and exuberance took him over.  Uzzah loses his life that day.  Verse 12, “David feared God that day and said “How can I ever bring the ark of God to me?”  But I absolutely love I Chronicle 14:2, “Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been exalted for the sake of His people Israel.”

Yes, David was king and lived in a palace.  If we are looking at the physical world, that really was all he had.  His wife despised him, his children hated him and caused an uprising against him (in which he ran away scared by the way!).  After being anointed King, he served the current king and then literally had to run for his life for many years before actually receiving the honor.  His kingdom is divided. And on and on ... 


But we know David “after (God’s) own heart.”  Do we see and receive the heart of the matter here?  It wasn’t the life that David lived, the choices that he made ... another translation stated 1 Samuel 13:14 as “The Lord has found a man loyal to Him ...”

David tells us in Psalm 21:6 & 7, “You give him blessings forever; You cheer him with joy in Your presence.  For the king relies on the Lord; through the faithful love of the Most High he is not shaken.”


David lived out Daniel 3:17 - 18, “the God we serve ... He can rescue us from the fiery furnace ... He can rescue us from the power of you ... But even if He does not rescue us ...”  Even when God did not deliver David from the situation as he had petitioned God, even when God did not give David what he wanted, David still chose to love and give himself to God wholeheartedly.  Do we?  What is that situation in you life, in my life that has caused us to doubt and falter?  What do we chose to do with that situation today?


David lived out Philippians 3:13 & 14, “Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.  I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”  David left his past and pressed on toward what God had for him to do today.  What are we choosing to do with the things in our past today?


In Haggai 1:7, the Lord tells us “Think carefully about your ways, Go...” (and do that thing that He is telling you) ... verse 8 “Then I will be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord.””


Haggai gives us what I think is a rare response from the Israelites ... they responded!  They did it!  Praise God!  Verse 12, “... the entire remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him.  So the people feared the Lord.”

Haggai chapter 1 has such a great climatic ending ... “I am with you,” - this is the Lord’s declaration.”  The Lord stirred their spirits and they began the work!

Let’s rise up together today.  Let’s receive and obey the word our Abba Father is speaking and stand strong in our faith together today!


Isaiah 7:9, “... If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.”


Lord, I ask that You stir all of our hearts today.  Abba, loving and faithful Father, stir us!  As we step into our day, we do not step into another day of “trying” and “struggling” but Lord we step out into today in Your victory, into Your truth, into Your strength.  Abba, we know that it has nothing to do with us, who we are, what we have done, or what we do.  It has everything to do with You, who You are, what You do and what You have done.  We step into today in Your grace.  We love You and we trust You.  In Jesus name, Amen


“Be exalted, Lord, in Your strength’ we will sing and praise Your might.”  Psalm 21:13

Wallingford
church of the nazarene

1-203-269-9313 

wallnazchurch@gmail.com

www.wallnazchurch.org 

26 Parker Farms Road

Wallingford, CT  06492​

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