Wikipedia DEFINITION: Status quo is a Latin term meaning the existing state of affairs; to maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are.
Question: Have you ever found yourself putting off doing something that really needs to be done and your reasoning…? “Things are just find the way they are!”
Yes, we’ve all probably said or thought about the status quo when someone came up with a “bright idea” and we responded with… “Quit rocking the boat! Things in my life are just fine the way they are.”
–THE BOOK OF HAGGAI–
Haggai says…”Oh Yeah, that’s NOT what God says.”
In Haggai’s time, the temple needed rebuilding; and “no”, my POST is NOT about starting a new church building program where you reside. In saying that, in Israel dating back to about 520 B.C., the Temple needed rebuilding but the people kept saying, “The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord” (Haggai 1:2). If you are a pastor reading this, you just might be thinking… “I’ve heard this statement before.”
God’s Answer to the “Status quo”–Rich, Fat, and Lazy.
Although Cyrus had ordered it done eighteen years before, the construction had come to a complete halt. And God’s response was to the point: You are rich and fat and lazy; you people keep putting off doing God’s will.
So God says, “Come on people, the time has come.” Don’t you just hate that, when you’re convicted by God’s will? We do have a pretty good idea how WE would like our lives to go, OUR priorities, how WE’D like to spend our idle time and resources.
LIVING IN THE “STATUS QUO”:
As a whole, we’re often NOT as happy as we’d like to be. Our lives are NOT as satisfying and fulfilling as we’d hoped. And this is particularly true when we are NOT following God’s direction in our lives.
So, we become SATISFIED living in the “status quo”; keeping the things exactly the way they are.
This is where we begin the story, in Haggai 1:2-11:
God says, “Your house looks good, but what about mine?”
After the Babylonian exile, a newly returned group of Jews (some 50,000) were back in the land. This would certainly give way for a great opportunity to rebuild the temple, the house of God. Plenty of labor available for the task ahead. “Yippee!”
However, at the writing of the book of Haggai, 18 years had passed since beginning the building project and it was still unfinished. They had only laid the foundation. And, the monies they had brought back from Babylon had been used for other purpose other than what they were originally intended. Am I stirring up any memories of past experiences?
Excuses, excuses, excuses!
After the Passage (Vs. 2-11), according to the Lord, the people’s concern for their own lives and houses were more evident than their concerns over the house of the Lord.
They Did Have An EXCUSE…
They said it’s not time yet TIME? Time was all they had! They hadn’t done a thing for 18 years; only the foundation was complete!!! Actually, the Temple had laid in ruins for over 60 years by that time.
What do you think may have been some other excuses used? How about these suggestions:
— God wants us to take care of our own families first, doesn’t He?
— The job is just too big. We’ll never finish it.
— We need to pray about it some more!
— The time just isn’t right.
— Our motives are good, but…we’re just too busy right now!
Any of these mentioned sound somewhat familiar?
WHERE HAVE ALL THE BLESSINGS GONE?
God says, “And you wonder why you haven’t received the blessings I have promised?” He said:
You have sown much, given much – but have reaped little.
You have to eat, but never enough.
You drink, but are never filled.
You are clothed, but still cold.
You earn wages, but it’s like you put your money in sack, a bag with holes; you never have enough.
Because they spent more time and money on themselves (their own houses) than on God’s house!
It’s all a matter of COMMITMENT!
Or, in this case, the “status quo” had become the chosen option. You see, they may have had an interest seeing the Temple built, but there was NO COMMITMENT. You see, commitment and interest are two different things.
Once a chicken and a pig took a trip together. After many miles and many hours on the road, they got hungry. Finally, the sharp-eyed chicken spotted a restaurant. Approaching the door they read a sign which said, “HAM AND EGGS: Our Specialty!” “Hold it!” shouted the pig. “What’s the matter?” asked the chicken. “Plenty. All they want from you is a contribution. They are asking me for total commitment!”
Today, CHRISTIANITY seems to be less a matter of commitment and more of a matter of convenience. Thus the excuses flow!
What Is the Result of a Neglected Foundation?
Remember when Solomon initially built the Temple, a place where God dwelt, representing the very presence of God Himself!!!
So what happens when you neglect the presence of God?
I’m not talking now about a physical building you enter on Saturday or Sunday that needs repair or refurbished. It’s what happens in your HEART that affects every other part of your life: your heart-prayer life, your heart-worship, your heart-faith.
The Lord God caused drought to come upon the land.
Many blessings stopped flowing and were BLOCKED:
The heavens dew – spiritually refers to God’s glory!
The earths fruit – refers to spiritual prosperity; produce.
The lands grain – refers to increase.
The lands oil – refers to the anointing.
When the Message is Heard!
The MESSAGE given by Haggai, is a simple one.
The Word of the Lord is spoken through the prophet.
…and, the book of Haggai is not a long book.
The people are living in a “status quo” frame of mind; they have become complacent and sinful because of their complacency. So God speaks through His messenger and God moves the hearts of the hearers through His Spirit; the people respond, God’s will is done, and the people are rewarded; the “blessing blockers” are removed.
That is the HEART OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE in a “nutshell.” In two short chapters:
Know who I am,
Know who you are,
And be saved!
The Time Is Now!
Moses had predicted the Israelites would be successful and would prosper in crops, in warfare and in their personal lives IF…they obeyed God’s commandments. DISOBEDIENCE and LAZINESS would bring about tragic circumstances.
Haggai told the people their problems. He said, “Consider your ways–do a self-examination.” Don’t you see what is wrong here? THE TIME HAS COME!
This time the people listen and do. It took only a little more than three weeks to respond with action. Don’t you pastors and church leaders out there dream of the flock responding to your Spirit given message in three weeks or less? Or is the “status-quo” good enough?
Something to consider…
Do we Christians (sheep of the flock) put off what is to be done now?
Do we leave for later, what God is urging us today?
Do we think we will have forever, or do we know that the time has come?
THE TIME IS NOW!
“From this day forward–mark it down!–you will be blessed,” Haggai says.
In the moment…
When we REPENT and accept Jesus, turning from our wicked ways, to serve God–at that very moment–God’s True Blessing comes and rests upon us. In fact, God is so eager to BLESS us, He takes the initiative.
In kindness He sends His messengers, with the Holy Spirit moving us to hear the Word of God, to repent, and believe. God IS eager to BLESS us today–not tomorrow, but today!
Our Heavenly Father Loves Obedience!
Philippians 2 explains:
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but how much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (verse 12 NAS).
Paul goes on to give the support; encouraging us as we need in stepping out of the “status quo” frame of mind…not on our own strength, but in Gods’:
“For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His [not ours] good pleasure.” (verse 13)
Someone has said, “Going to church doesn’t make a person a Christian anymore than going into a McDonald’s makes a person a hamburger.” The appearance of OBEDIENCE isn’t good enough folks. Putting on a happy face doesn’t cut it. “Faking it until you make it”, is living in a make-believe state of Christianity–the “status quo”.
Stepping Out and Living a Full Christian Life
This is hard for me to put down in my own words, what stepping out of the STATUS QUO and living a full life is. But I’ll try.
If we’ve really put our minds on the Lord’s work, resting in Him, we will experience PEACE. Can you feel that in your life right now? Do you experience the TRUE PEACE that comes only from Christ?
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25 NIV).
The Day is approaching, my friends. The time has come.
THE TIME IS NOW! Time to consider our walk with Jesus. We cannot live with Christ in the back seat–the “status quo”, any longer. Be in the position God’s people found themselves in; according to the promises of God when they heard and obeyed:
“From this day on, I will bless you.”