“Be strong, all you people of the land,” declares the Lord, “and work. For I am with you,” declares the Lord Almighty.(Haggai 2:4)
A couple of possibilities present themselves for reflection this morning as I sit down to write.
- We could talk about the absurdity of a government (Democrats and Republicans alike) willing to play Russian Roulette with the lives of more than 800,000 families – our son’s included – for whom the loss of income could well be devastating.
- Or we could reflect on the “not a coincidence” scripture in today’s Upper Room Devotional Magazine: “Be strong, all you people of the land,” declares the Lord, “and work. For I am with you,” declares the Lord Almighty. (Haggai 2:4)
If I’m not careful, I tend to allow the drama of the moment set my course, and then respond accordingly. The drama of the moment, today, is the arrogance, the ineptitude, the self-centeredness, and the narcissism of so many of our nation’s leaders.
I can’t shake the image of one senator speaking into the news camera: “A few days of government shutdown isn’t going to hurt the economy,” he said, condescendingly. The man was evidently uninterested in the impact that cutting off income will have on the families whose lives he (and his colleagues) are playing with. The economy happens to involve real people; by the way, I don’t see anyone cutting off his paycheck.
ASSURANCE: Then at the same time I can’t shake the image of God’s encouragement: “Be strong, all you people of the land, and work. For I am with you.” (Haggai 2:4)
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge. (Psalm 46)
The nations certainly are in an uproar, and kingdoms are tottering. But God’s word is consistent: “Be strong… work… I am with you.”
SALVATION: I’ll close this morning’s short thought with another reference to this past weekend. Throughout the Bible, I told the guys, the best understanding of “salvation” means to participate in the WORK that God is up to. The offer of salvation is an invitation to join God in God’s work. Not pie-in-the-sky-when-we-die, but a partnership that begins now and then lasts for eternity.
Everything around us may well fall apart; but God’s work is still our calling. No furlough for us, no sitting this one out, nothing other than this word of encouragement from our Creator: “Be strong, all you people of the land,” declares the Lord, “and work. For I am with you,” declares the Lord Almighty. (Haggai)
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge! – DEREK