May is often a time of graduations and commencements, of celebrations and gifts. It is a time of new beginnings. As I write this I am sitting in a motel lobby in California. I am here for two reasons: a graduation and a vacation (with all of our kids). Our daughter-in-law Cherith is graduating. Matthew, who has been battling some serious health issues, did not quite get there. He is a few classes away and will finish over the coming months. We are plan celebrating anyway!
As I sit here this morning I have been reading the Old Testament book of Haggai. It has especially caught my attention this morning. Haggai is prophesying at the end of the 70 year captivity. If you know what I mean by that, then you know that the Temple was destroyed and the Jewish nation had been lead into a time of bondage in Babylon. Haggai writes to the Jews that they should return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. He is very honest with those to whom he ministers.
First, Haggai reminds them that they are missing God’s blessings because they are not doing right. “You can work hard, sow much, eat, drink, and make pretty good money,” Haggai says, “but without God’s blessings in your life, you will harvest little, you will not have enough, you will never feel warm, and all your wages will disappear like putting your income in a bag with holes!” What a lesson for us as we celebrate all of these graduations and commencements. Don’t live your lives for things that cause you to miss God’s blessings. Instead, serve God, be faithful to church, be generous in giving, and raise Godly families! Do right with all of our heart and keep God first in your life.
Second, He reminds them that having God’s blessings is far better than anything else in the world. His blessings are far better than all the money that a degree will bring. Sow in righteousness and you will reap righteousness. Honor God and He will bless you, your family, and the work of your hands. In fact, Haggai pointed out that when they listened to God’s directions, obeyed His voice, and feared Him, the results were incredible. God was with them, blessed them, and gave them peace.
Haggai also pointed out one more item of great interest to me. He was very honest that the Temple they were building was “as nothing in comparison” to the old one that had been built by Solomon. We often feel that way in the church. The glory days of revival and missions and evangelism are always in the past and this generation just missed out. Haggai addresses this thinking. He says that “the glory of the latter house will be greater than the glory of the former one!” It didn’t look the same. It didn’t “shine” the same. It just didn’t measure up. And yet, it’s glory was greater? How in the world was that possible? Could our graduates see greater days of revival and missions and evangelism than our forefathers saw? Apparently so, and here is why.
God promised them that He would be with them and bless them. It was His presence that made the first temple glorious and it was His presence that made that second one so. I want to tell you graduates that God will be with you too. You do have to seek Him. Do it, because you will find Him. You do have to do right. Do it, because you will reap life everlasting. You do have to pray. Do it, because He does answer prayer. You do have to preach the gospel to all the world. Do it, because the gospel is the power of God to all who believe. God will be with you, and that is why greater days of revival and missions and evangelism may yet be ahead. His presence is bigger than your generation’s problems. His presence changes everything. When His glory fills a generation, then hope is alive. He is what we want, not the Temple. It is His presence that we desire, not the past. That was a glorious truth for their generation and I think also for ours!
Thanks for reading.
Your sincere friend,
Evangelist Dave YoungGod will be with you, and that is why greater days of revival and missions and evangelism may yet be ahead. His presence is bigger than your generation’s problems.
So, Happy Graduation Month. May God