by Christopher Harbin

According to Understanding
Christopher B. Harbin
Jb 19:23-27b; Hg 1:15b-2:9; Lk 20:27-38; 2 Th 2:1-5,13-17

We are all too accustomed to mixed messages. We decry the evil of abortion and promote war. We hear "care for the needy" and "look out for number one." We distrust politicians and expect them to work for the common good. We expound the value of education and invest our resources on comfort and entertainment. We decry the fast food industry's complicity on poor health and nutrition and support it with our dollars. We speak of Christ as Lord and ignore God's will. Is it even possible to live according to our understanding of God's presence in our lives? Can our lives speak a clear message of God's love without the mix of competing drives?
The people of Haggai's day cared for their own interests. They had descent homes. They had food, shelter, and clothing. They did not believe they had enough resources to do more than care for themselves. At the same time, they claimed faith in Yahweh. They claimed God's provision, while the temple lay in ruins and they ignored responsibility for its rebuilding. They claimed faith, but did not live according to their claim. They spoke of Yahweh's provision, but their actions did not expect provision to be sufficient for their own needs and to fulfill Yahweh's will. Haggai decried a lack of faith. He decried an empty confidence in God's providing for the needs of both people and temple. Do we live in the confidence of God's presence and provision?
In psychology class, we called it cognitive dissonance. That is when we hold two conflicting ideas to be true, without recognize that one of them must be false. We claim Jesus as Lord. We claim to live according to the will of Christ Jesus. We claim Jesus' words as the very words of God. We know of those who make these same claims with us, yet teach that God will bless the faithful believer with health, wealth, social status. We know that Jesus never made ...

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