Daily Devotion Thursday August 3, 2017
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“Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?
Haggai 1:4 NLT
I grew up in a local rural church which has for years failed to erect a house (a sanctuary) for a congregational worship. Although none of the members of the church does dwell in a fancy house, it would have been possible to have even a temporary structure for a gathering. Although a church building isn’t a dwelling place for the LORD as the Temple was in the Old Testament, it would be befitting for every congregation to have a house of prayer.
After seventy years of exile, Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah had led several returnees to Jerusalem and or Judah. Having lost their cities and homes including the Temple to the heartless army of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the inhabitants of Judah had to begin from zero. For years, the people prioritized their personal development by building luxurious houses but left the House of the LORD to lay in ruins. In regard to building the House of the LORD, the people thought;
“Our time has not come for the doing of it, because we have not yet recovered, after our captivity; our losses are not repaired, nor have we yet got before-hand in the world. It is too great an undertaking for new beginners in the world, as we are; let us first get our own houses up, before we talk of building churches, and in the meantime let a bare altar serve us, as it did our father Abraham” (Matthew Henry).
So, if it were today; the people concentrated in buying plots, putting apartment buildings, setting up farms and businesses but no attention was paid to the Lord’s house because it isn’t yet time for it. What a misplaced priority? A word of rebuke from the Lord came through prophet Haggai to Judah. The Lord wasn’t happy that his own people have neglected him who brought them out of exile, that they wouldn’t pay attention to what they should have done first. God had already withheld his blessings upon the people for their misplaced priorities. The prophet Haggai, walking from one hamlet to another in Judah announced:
“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.’” Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? (Hag. 1:2-4 NLT).
In the New Covenant, the LORD God has moved his dwelling place from a house build by human hands (the Temple) to a house that he has built—our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Many of us have focused so much on none issues and left the House of the Lord in ruins today. Like my rural church that has for decades not been bothered about building a house of prayer, many of us aren’t bothered of keeping our bodies fit for the dwelling of the Living God.
Some of the Corinthian Christians started to misuse their bodies for sexual immorality and other inordinate things that ruins the Temple of the Holy Spirit. A word of rebuke came from God through apostle Paul saying; “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20 NLT).
We are the Temple of the Lord, Peter testifies “And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God” (1 Pet. 2:5 NLT). What do you do with your body? Do you know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit? Do not let your body—the Temple of the Lord be in ruins, keep it in honour of the Lord. Remember he who destroys or leaves the Temple of the Lord in ruins will also be destroyed or ruined. Amen! Rev. J
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture Quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV) 2011.
Rev. Julius Izza Tabi is the founding Director of this online New Dawn Ministries. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues from the Norwegian School of Theology. Julius also is a pastor in the Anglican Diocese of Ma’di and West Nile of the Church of Uganda who believes that God’s timeless truth of salvation must be preached to all Nations. Help Donate here to support the New Dawn Ministries. You can also support this ministry by purchasing Julius’ popular books Triumphing Over Odds and Suffering and Pain? from Amazon. Thank you.