“Fighting the Daily Fight” by Robert Parker1
Dear God, it is so hard for us to fight against ourselves. It is very difficult to overcome an enemy that lies so close and hidden within us as our flesh does. And unless you arm me with divine power, I am in great danger of yielding to this treacherous foe.
Help me to die to myself daily, I beg you. Do not let me be eternally separated by the attractions of the flesh from the life that is in Christ my Savior.
Preserve me this day in your fear and favor, and in the end bring me to your everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Haggai 2:6-9—the Glory of the Temple
6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’ ”
When God says that He will shake the heavens and the earth, this was typical language concerning theophanies (appearances [phany] of God [theos]). It’s similar to what Moses and Israel saw at Mount Sinai when the fire of God descended on the mountain though everything else was covered in a thick cloud of darkness. And the earth shook at what must have felt like God’s very footsteps as He stooped to earth and met His people. God is promising something big here.
Heavens and earth will shake. The sea and the dry land will quake as God shakes creation removing the treasures of the earth’s kingdoms bringing them into his temple. In the Ancient Near East (ANE) the pagan gods were rulers over one of those realms. Worshippers of a sky god couldn’t count on that to help them in earthly matters, and vice versa. Gods of the dry land were no use when you were on the sea.
We see this truth vividly reflected in the runaway prophet, Jonah’s story. Jonah 1:7-10, “And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.”
Notice that the sailors were afraid before, but once Jonah said “I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land”, then they were exceedingly afraid! It’s commonplace for us to see God as omnipotent over all things, which is good we recognize God’s sovereignty but it should also help us to proceed each day in the fear and favor of God.
The reason God shakes out all the treasures of the earth to fill his temple is because of the preciousness of that temple. Remember again that Solomon’s temple was absolutely gorgeous and this temple was pretty unimpressive. Yet God says, “the latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, and in this place I will give peace.”
The Jews of Jesus’ day probably felt pretty secure they were in the partial fulfilment of this prophecy. Herod’s temple dwarfed Solomon’s temple, all they thought they were waiting for was the peace and prosperity God promised. The Sadducees thought it would come through the earthly rulers and aligned themselves with Rome, more or less. The Pharisees did not believe that, they believed peace could only come through deliverance from Rome. Both of them looked for God’s work with eyes of flesh.
God’s work of shaking the heavens and earth next was felt in a stable in Bethlehem Ephrathah when Jesus was born. God’s treasures of silver and gold are treasures of his love poured out on His people. One day the fulfillment will include all the treasures of the world, but for now we must be content with the greatest treasure of all: our Lord Jesus. In John 2 Jesus claimed that He was temple. He is the fulfillment of the OT prophecies concerning God’s dwelling place! Jesus is the latter glory of God revealed in human flesh, but there’s more than that. Because of his work, Jesus’ believers are now the temple of God by the unifying, indwelling, work of the Holy Spirit.
May the Lord shine his face upon you today and give you peace knowing the maker of Heaven and Earth has made you into His most treasured possession. Even now, as hard as it is to believe because of what our eyes of flesh see, God is shaking all the silver and gold of the earth into His temple-people.
In Jesus’ perfect work and covenant love,
1Piercing Heaven, a collection of Puritan Prayers. Robert Elmer, ed. Bellingham, WA: Lexham press, 2019. P.264. Robert Parker (c.1564–1614) was an English Puritan clergyman and scholar. He became minister of a separatist congregation in Holland where he died while in exile for his heterodoxy. The Revd. Cotton Mather wrote of Parker as “one of the greatest scholars in the English Nation, and in some sort the father of all Nonconformists of our day.”