Links Daily Devotional

A Better House

“…my house…remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.” (Haggai 1:9, NIV)

Many of the classic courses—and those that most of us prefer—are set off by themselves, with no building other than the clubhouse in sight. Ohio’s wonderful Golf Club of New Albany is like this, as are the more recent courses at Bandon Dunes, and next year’s site of the US Open, Erin Hills in Wisconsin, to name a few.

Whereas God’s presence before Christ dwelt in the temple on Jerusalem’s mount, he has since dwelt by his Spirit in the hearts, minds, and bodies of those who call Jesus Lord.But we have also grown used to modern courses serving as the backyards to large, beautiful houses. Even Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village features a number of these, as does the posh new coveted location for those adding another home in California’s desert wonderland: The Madison Club. These houses can draw our eyes as quickly as the unique green complex at the end of the fairway.

Houses are an attraction, we might say, because all of us live in one. We love our courses, but we don’t eat and sleep and guard our privacy there so much. That is a job for our house. And we often dream of our next one.

The subject of houses rolled off the tongue of the Lord as he gave words to the prophet Haggai about 500 years before Christ. God sternly noted the people were much happier working on bettering their own houses than tending to his. “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” he asked (Haggai 1:4).

This may seem like an odd question when we see that Scripture also teaches “the Most High does not live in houses made by men” (Acts 7:48). But the temple of old was God’s designated place of worship, and he was setting before the people a fact of priorities—their attention and their time were aimed in a selfward direction. They were greatly interested in their personal holdings while ignoring matters of spiritual eminence.

It is possible to recognize the lesson in this as it stands: give God his due. But we can be aided further by pulling these matters into the New Testament and doing what God urged his people to do through Haggai: “Give careful thought to your ways” (Haggai 1:7).

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle twice established this parallel: Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Whereas God’s presence before Christ dwelt in the temple on Jerusalem’s mount, he has since dwelt by his Spirit in the hearts, minds, and yes, bodies of those who call Jesus Lord. So Paul pushed the Corinthians (and all other followers of Christ) toward a binding conclusion: “Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

We cannot “panel our houses” with things we desire, ignore the call and service of the Lord, and say that we are rightly worshipping him with our lives. Not in Haggai’s time and not now.

Jeff Hopper
September 7, 2016
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