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2 Corinthians 5:16-21
No one likes change. But sometimes, out of sheer desperation, we give in to it.
My husband and I sat in a counseling session and were asked, “Are you willing to work?” I replied, “We have to do something.” Desperate tears flooded my eyes and filled my voice. We couldn’t keep doing the same thing; something had to change before we lost everything.
Whether it’s making a game-changing decision in a relationship, choosing different parenting approaches, or standing up for the innocent in society, every choice is driven by a desperation that’s deep enough that we are willing to be different.
Ever read Haggai? Two pages hidden in the Old Testament, yep, two whole pages. But the impact of Haggai’s prophetic words carried a significance that bled into the New Testament and even our own lives today. His was a prophecy that pivoted on one axis: change. Not behavior modification kind of change, but a course correction so deep that it grew from a desperate heart realization. This was marriage-counseling kind of desperation, except on a scale large enough to encompass a whole nation. Theirs was a lifestyle of lies with one poor choice leading to a myriad of other ones, all the while attempting to keep up appearances before God.
They said the right things, sometimes.
They did the right things, when it suited them.
And they counted on the fact that enough good would eventually outweigh the bad.
I mean, God is gracious, right?
Know anyone like that? Going through life comparing one set of good deeds to another set of bad deeds and hoping it will turn out right in the end?
Enter Haggai, conveying God’s deep heartbreak over His chosen nation as he painted a clear visual for Israel.
‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’” The priests answered and said, “No.” (Hag 2:12)
Before you get lost in “clean” and “unclean”, here’s a modern day visual:
“If a chef prepares a gourmet 3-egg-omelet with 2 perfect eggs and 1 rotten one, will the bad egg become good?”
Of Course Not! I’m not even going to set foot in that restaurant!
So Haggai cuts in, “So it is with this people….and with every work of their hands.” (verse 14)
Their good deeds didn’t cut it.
Their hearts weren’t right before God.
Israel couldn’t muster up enough good deeds to please a holy and perfect God;
and neither can we.
Israel’s leaders were cut to the heart with Haggai’s brief, but powerful message. They saw their sin and turned away from it because they were desperate enough to see how much they needed change.
God blessed their heart-change, brought them back into relationship with Him, and destroyed their enemies. In other words, Israel flourished because of their heart change. What’s more, Zerubbabel would be one of the few chosen to be in the lineage of Christ, the sinless Savior and redeemer of otherwise lost hearts. (see Matthew 1:12-13)
“I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the Lord, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts.” (Hag 2:23)
Wait, it gets better!
“(He entrusted to) us the message of reconciliation.20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20)
Zerubbabel was chosen to be the signet ring of the Almighty Yahweh and destined to be in the lineage of Jesus.
As believers, we are chosen to be God’s ambassadors and destined to be the lineage of Jesus.
In. Cred. i. Ble!
Seriously, that’s amazing!
The same God who has been calling for dramatic heart change since time began, is the same God who equips and calls us to keep extending the offer of new life to a world who Desperately Needs To Be Made New!
Shootings across our nation, unthinkable tragedies, racism, war in our world, broken relationships at home, prejudice, disease, financial ruin. People, how much travesty will it take for us to see how desperate for heart change we really are? May our desperation propel us into the arms of the only one who can fill us, fuel us, and redeem our broken hearts!
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