So I did my half-year assessment of my New Year Resolutions and it was ok. God is good and kinder to me than I am to myself which is awesome. But looking forward I have a verse that has been pounding away in my mind that I feel is the focus for the rest of the year. It’s an odd verse at first glance from a little book almost at the end of the Old Testament.
Eternal One: 7 Think very carefully about your choices. 8 Go up to the mountains, and bring down trees to make lumber and build My house. Do this so I may take pleasure in it and be honored by it.
In context, Haggai is conveying a message from God that it’s time to stop being concerned with your own things and concentrate on the things of God. I can’t argue with that. Isn’t that what we should all do? Lay down our lives and take up His life?
Think very carefully about your choices… “Consider your ways.” the KJV and many others say and that’s a wise thing to do. To take pause and think about what we are doing and more than just what – why we do them? Life is too short to be careless or casual in what we do. We are the representatives of Jesus sent to heal, cleanse, deliver and raise those whom we meet – consider your ways, think about your choices.
This is vital but it’s the second verse that is drumming hard. Go to the mountains, bring down trees and build His house so He will be pleased and honoured. I live near mountains but I shan’t be driving up in a truck with an axe and adze selecting fine strong trees.
Go to the mountains. Moses went to a mountain, Elijah, Elisha, Jesus all climbed mountains to do what? To meet with God on an intimate, highly personal, life changing level. Go to the mountains, isolate yourself from distractions and dig into God. Find the cleft, feel the still small voice, pray til the hand-sized cloud appears, feel the transfiguring power of the Spirit, find His approval. Go to the mountains.
Bring down trees (lumber/wood) and build My house. The dwelling place of God, – a humble heart, a contrite Spirit, willing hands, wisdom in actions, understanding in words – it’s not a physical place and nor is it physical wood. As I spend time with God He will provide the ‘lumber’ – His words will nurture and shape me, His correction will smooth the planes of my life and teach me. It’s no easy matter to chop down a tree, clean the branches, carve it into planks, smooth and straighten them to be fit for a purpose. Just like it’s no easy matter to take my broken life and let God do that to me, to make me fit for a purpose.
What purpose? To please and honour Him. What other purpose could I want? Could I have? It’s not a one-time thing, daily I have to go to the mountains, daily I have to let Him select the lumber and daily I have to let Him shape and smooth so that His house can be built in – on – my life and please Him and bring Him honour.
The axe and the adze can be violent deadly things but in the hands of a master craftsman, they produce things that are beautiful and useful. He is the Master Craftsman, I’m looking forward to seeing what He can produce from this lumber.