Friday, July 31, 2009 – Haggai – The Great Task
“Postexilic prophecy begins with Haggai, who received the word of the Lord in the second year of Darius (520 B.C.). The Jews who returned from the Exile in Babylonia had encountered formidable obstacles in their efforts to re-establish Jewish life in Judah. The Samaritans had succeeded in blocking the rebuilding of the temple; but after Darius acceded to the throne (522), permission was given to resume the work. At this critical moment, when defeatism and a certain lethargy had overtaken his repatriated countrymen, Haggai came forward with his exhortations to them to complete the great task”. (CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE, page 1157).
This is a book for us to meditate with when we have returned from a place of exile, begun to recover, and see the mountain of rebuilding ahead. The promise of blessings and restoration is given to us in these pages . . . for those times when the Great Task of our lives seems to great to hurdle. When we look closely, we understand the importance of community.
My house lies in ruins, while each of you hurries to his own house.
We cannot hope to make progress in our own life tasks if we are determined to work alone.
Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory?
We must gather those around us who are of like mind, who wish to move forward in union with others who live in and for the Lord.
For I am with you, says the Lord of hosts. This is the pact that I made with you when you came out of Egypt, and my spirit continues in your midst; do not fear!
We can believe and know that just when we feel most abandoned, the Lord is closest to us.
Greater will be the future glory of this house than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give peace, says the Lord of hosts!
We can understand and hope in the fulfillment of God’s promise to remain with us and to restore what appears lost to us.
I will set you as a signet ring; for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts.
There is no greater sign of God’s love than this . . . that we come to serve as a sign of his presence.
We have been chosen. We are a sign of God’s presence. We are designed to complete great tasks. With, and through, and in Christ – the embodiment of God’s expression of his love for us – let us come together to complete God’s great work.
Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1157. Print.
For more on the Prophecy of Haggai click on the image above or go to http://www.pastorgraphics.com/Haggai_PowerPoint_Sermon-30370.html