God loves human beings constantly irrespective of our shortcomings. “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” John 3:16-17. We have heard and read Verse 16 throughout our life but verse 17 is the verse that we may not be familiar with. We fairly understand the love of God but at the same time are unable to understand the eradication of condemnation. Because of this lack of understanding many are still under the clutches of guilt and keep asking for pardon for their sins without knowing the truth, that God has already pardoned all our sins through His son’s sacrificial death on the Cross.
Because of the sense of guilt, people are unable to receive deliverance and they continue to live in agony. Through prophet Haggai, God threw light on people’s helpless situation. “Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”” Haggai 1: 5-6. When we are not getting what we ought to, when medicine do not heal our disease, and when we lose our hard earned money, God asks us to examine ourselves.
Build God’s Temple
To come out of this dreadful situation, God shows His way to His people in the following verses. “ This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord.” Haggai 1: 7-8. Basically God tells us to build His house. In the New Testament’s scenario, we all are aware that God lives in us. 1 John 3: 16 tells us that our body is His temple. God consistently tells His people to be Holy as He is Holy so as to dwell in them. How this holiness can come to an unholy man? It is neither by good nature nor by noble deeds but by His power and grace. To understand this better, we must see Haggai chapter 1 verse 8. God invites us to climb the mountain bringing timber along with us. What is its significance?
Love your God with all your Heart
Haggai’s invitation to climb up the mountain resembles the one of God’s invitation to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son, as a burnt offering. Here God tested the heart of Abraham. Paul writes in the book of Romans that Abraham by responding to this invitation of God, became the father of all believers. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.” Romans 4:17. This faith of Abraham accomplished through his personal experience. When his and Sarah’s body were totally dead, God gave them a son. There was no hope at all for Sarah to be conceived as her womb was closed. But even then, God called Isaac out of nothing. “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4: 20 -22. This personal experience of Abraham encouraged him to wait upon God for everything. When he was asked to offer his own son, as Abraham loved God with all his heart, he climbed up the mountain with timber in his hand believing that God will take care of the situation. Obedience with ultimate faith on God’s mercy. As he loved God so much, sense of guilt was not able to take over the situation. In situation like this, are we shattered because of our own conscience?
In Place of Human, the Son of God
With utter obedience, when Abraham lifted the knife to sacrifice Isaac, God intervened and gave Abraham a ram instead of Isaac. If God had allowed Abraham to sacrifice his son, then the concept of burnt offering as an atonement of our sins would have survived. But God who sees our heart wanted to examine the heart of Abraham as to how much he loved him. Are we loving God more than everything in our lives? Jesus asked Peter thrice, do you love me? God is always anxious to know the measure of love that we have for Him. Even the test of Abraham shows God’s anxiety. God had planned even before the creation of earth to give His son to save mankind. He was anxious to find a man who can sacrifice his beloved in order to obey Him. But God does not allow us to do so but the decision to obey we take, pleases Him.
Jesus climbed the Mountain
The invitation of Haggai to climb the mountain taking timber to save mankind was fulfilled by Jesus 2000 years ago. Where we ought to be, Jesus took our place not to condemn us but to save us from eternal death. He climbed up the Mountain taking a cross made of wood and obeyed His father even to the extent of death. Death could not conquer Jesus, but Jesus conquered death. If man suffered and died because of his sin, the wages of sin is fulfilled. Instead, Jesus died on the cross in his place where all sinners have to be, and conquered the wages of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. If we believe that Jesus died in the place where we ought to be, then the curses listed out in Haggai will be transformed into a blessing. Because the blood of Jesus Christ makes all who repent Holy. If we understand the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, we can also love Him as much as He loves us.