Haggai 2:1-9 – God is With Us

Read Haggai 2:1-9

I hadn’t thought about the fact that the people rebuilding the temple would probably have never seen the original one now in ruins. Would those memories have been kept alive in families living in exile? If there were any faithful ones still alive that had seen the glorious splendor of the original temple, Haggai’s words were a comfort for them. “My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.”

How can human hands build a house worthy of the glory of God? A big project like building a temple for God may have seemed overwhelming. It certainly was the first time around for Solomon. You may recall Solomon’s father, King David had the vision for a grand temple, but it was God’s plan that Solomon be the one in charge of its construction. We read about that in 1 Kings 8. Solomon’s prayer of dedication is beautiful.

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James 4:13-16 – Self Confidence

Read James 4:13-16

I’m a planner. I admit I can even obsess over it. I always want everything to be “just right.” These verses really gave me something to think about. When does planning become boastful? I suppose the answer to that is when you don’t invite God into the planning process.

James would suggest even our semantics matter. “What you ought to say is, ‘If the LORD wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’” How do we know what the LORD wants us to do? That’s the rub! I have been known to say, “God willing, we will do this or do that.” I like the confident peace I get from knowing my plans have been submitted to God requesting his guidance and blessing.

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Jeremiah 45:1-5 – God’s Promises

Read Jeremiah 45:1-5

pinky promise between two young hands

We first met Baruch in Chapter 36 when Jeremiah called for him to be the scribe to write down all of God’s messages. We also know that he and Jeremiah were both taken to Egypt, most probably against their wishes. Both Jeremiah and Baruch seemed to be in touch with God’s view of the situation, wanting to be obedient to the one true God.

Having received this message from the Lord long before the trek to Egypt would suggest multiple applications. Baruch, and possibly Jeremiah, would have had a shimmer of hope as they were facing a new life in Egypt (from our last reading). This promise probably also sustained Baruch when he spoke in Jeremiah’s place. God protected them then as well. I don’t think God’s promises have expiration dates.

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