Something’s up lately. We’ve probably all heard the flurry of health concerns swirling the airwaves over the past week, but is it all physical-health related? Or is our spiritual well-being being pummeled? God is doing a lot of shaking. It’s not to punish us, but to wake us. Haggai prophesied that this would happen.
Here’s the back story: in 538 BC, King Cyrus permitted the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and its temple. Four years later, in 534 BC, the foundation for the Temple was laid, but opposition from neighboring people caused the re-building to grind to a halt. Discouraged, the people began to focus on rebuilding their homes instead. 14 years later, in 520 BC, God sent prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage His people to finish building the Temple. Many people of the time, those who remembered the original temple which was destroyed, were disappointed by the second temple’s splendor. They saw the new temple as a let-down from what they once remembered. God promised them that He would always be present with them and the new Temple would be greater than Solomon’s temple. Let’s take a look:
Haggai 2:6-9 New International Version (NIV)
6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place, I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
How does this fit today’s scene of COVID-19 and the current-day place in which we’ve found ourselves? I believe God’s bringing a change in the air. There’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on. When a nation follows God, his hand rests on it. He protects His people who follow His ways. However, when a nation turns its back on God, he lifts his hand and allows the prince of the power of the air – Satan – to have his way. I believe this COVID-19 is just part of the shaking that God promised in Haggai.
This passage is also referenced in Hebrews 12:26
26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
Picture, if you will, a sieve full of sand and stone. Give it a good shake. Come on, keep shaking…. What’s left over in the sieve? That which cannot be shaken remains. As we experience this current-day shaking, we find truth in God’s Word. When He shakes the atmosphere around us, the things that are of this world fade. The things that we idolize are reset and God takes the forefront again.
Think about it…. Let’s just take two things in our culture — money and sports. Both have squeezed God out of our lives. They’ve become idols to many. To prove my point, have you looked at the Dow Jones, or the Nasdaq, or anybody who owns real estate on Wall Street? I think there’s a shaking going on there… What about our sports diet? On March 19th, ESPN posted that the NBA season was suspended, the NCAA cancelled all remaining spring and winter championships, MLB has cancelled spring training and delayed opening day tournaments, while the NHL has suspended play and the Masters has been postponed. (You can see the entire post here.) But as these idols are diminishing right before our eyes, God’s Kingdom remains strong. In short, God’s Kingdom cannot be shaken. We’re in the process of a reset, my friends.
As God shakes the nations – that which is not of God will be shaken away. Only God and His Kingdom will remain. In the shaking we are strengthened. You might ask, how then, can I see this shaking as hopeful? Here’s where I find hope in all of this: God says through Haggai, “I will shake all nations… and what is desired by all nations will come.” Does that phrase sound familiar? “Come, desire of nations come” is from the Christmas Carol, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, written in 1739 by none other than Charles Wesley of the Methodist flavor (and changed by George Whitefield later on). In other words, when God shakes the nations, we can expect Jesus. What I believe this scripture is saying is that the hope we find in Jesus – Jesus, the hope of the world – is soon coming.
What is “soon?” Only God knows the timing. But I believe that this shaking of the nations is a wake-up call. It’s God’s way of saying “I love you. And I want you to turn back to me.”
Remember how I started my post? The people were busy getting their own homes in order instead of the Temple. Their homes became their idol. The thing that stood between them and God. God reminded them that they needed to get the Temple in order. What is God’s temple today? Or should I say who is God’s temple today? We are. Anyone who follows Jesus. We are His temple (1 Cor 3:16). Through the shaking of the nations – through this coronavirus, I feel like God is saying to His people, “Wake up. Get your temple in order so that I find splendor in you.”
Friends, if we’re not ready when He returns, we’ll go through a lot of suffering and, frankly, someday it’ll be too late to accept Him as our Savior and Lord. Where would you be if Jesus returns tonight? Or in the next 30 seconds before you finish reading this post? The hope that I see, is that Jesus is our hope. He is what the world can’t offer us. He gives us everlasting peace. The world’s peace is short-lived. It falls as fast as the world’s stock exchanges. But while those who don’t know Jesus are facing eternal death, He gives us eternal life.
You might be going through a lot of suffering right now. You might be wondering how we’ll ever get through this. How you’re going to pay your bills, feed your family, and keep going. And many people who don’t know Jesus might be wondering how Christians can be so calm in this craziness. It’s because Jesus is our hope. Are you struggling to find hope? He is the only real hope. If you’re pushed to the brink, now’s the time to let Jesus take over your life. He’ll change you in a moment. He’ll take your pain and your fear. All you have to do is surrender.
Church – this can be your finest hour. This is an unprecedented time in the history of the world. Church, this is the time where we can step up and BE THE CHURCH. This is the time that we can share the hope that we find only in Jesus.
There’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on. And it’s God’s way of saying, “Come Back to your true love. You’ll find true hope in Jesus.” Mark my words.
Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope! (Romans 15:13, TPT) AMEN.