Did you not learn a thing?

thinkThe film that the Phys Ed teacher showed in the auditorium was full of mangled bodies, crushed cars, and death! It was a rite of passage for those going through Driver’s Education classes all those years ago to watch a horrific movie produced by the Ohio State Patrol about automobile accidents called Signal 30. It opened with the sounds of screeching tires, followed by a crash, and ominous music. We heard about it from previous classes, the dare thrown down as to how long some would make it before fleeing the dark auditorium; whether we would get sick from the carnage on the screen. The experience was not pleasant!  The alleged purpose was to scare all of us into safer driving habits and yet we still drove too fast, pushed the limits of our cars, and some of us died in accidents.

The power of temptation and sin is persistent, isn’t it? We tend to think that we are exempt from what others experience. We are skilled at justifying ourselves, excusing our actions, or just learning to ignore the voices that caution us. I wonder if our Heavenly Father would ask us, “Did you learn a thing?”

The ancient preacher named Haggai came to preach to God’s people about 5 centuries before the time of Christ. He was one of the ‘post-exilic’ prophets, those who came to bring God’s word after the miraculous restoration of the nation from a long captivity in Babylon!  Jerusalem was destroyed, the Temple burnt, the treasures of the land carried away by the Assyrian army.  The best and brightest of the nation became slaves in the empire. Remember Daniel? He was one of those carried off.  God, just as He had promised, moved to bring about the restoration of the nation after 70 years. Nehemiah was the leader that began the rebuilding of the city.  After a huge effort, the city’s walls were rebuilt and the priesthood was restored.

But, guess what? Within a relatively short time the same old sins of Self showed up again. Haggai had the difficult of task of challenging the people to keep the worship of the Lord first in their lives. Listen to the plea he makes by the inspiration of the Spirit. “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses.” (Haggai 1:7-9, NLT)  Instead of gratefully and faithfully serving the Lord, the people were soon taken up with ‘doing their own thing’ and missing the blessings that were to be found in devotion.

Those ancient words speak to me about my priorities, my choices, and my failure to learn from the past. How about you?

We read the Scripture, we have the promise of both an ‘abundant life’ and eternal life, and yet, too often we chase the wind, give ourselves to pursuit of the temporal, and then wonder why we feel so little peace, know so little joy, and experience so little of God’s Presence.  “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.” (Haggai 1:7, NIV)  Our Father is not threatening, nor does He want us to live in terror. He loves us deeply and knows that the best life can only be found in Him. “But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’” (Haggai 2:4-5, NLT)   Do you see the assurance that He offers to us?  “My Spirit remains among you!”

Christian friend, be mature and learn!  Here is a word from the Word. May it point us towards a life of wisdom and God’s blessings – for us, for our children, and for our children’s children.   “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you ” (Romans 12:1-2, The Message)

__________

So Will I (100 Billion X)  (Be inspired by this new song! It’s beautiful)

God of creation
There at the start before the beginning of time
With no point of ref’rence
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light

And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in ev’rything You’ve made
Ev’ry burning star a signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I

God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain no syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in ev’rything You say
Ev’ry painted sky a canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
So will I
So will I

If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in rev’rence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if ev’rything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times

God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created the light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die

And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in ev’rything You’ve done
Ev’ry part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart eight billion diff’rent ways
Ev’ry precious one a child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I

Like You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind

Benjamin Hastings | Joel Houston | Michael Fatkin
© 2017 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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