FRIDAY: LOVE by Holly Yinger

SCRIPTURE: Haggai 1:1-15

Sometimes it’s difficult to read passages where God takes credit for things that appear to be destruction and judgment, for things like droughts and floods. We much prefer a God who pours out sweet things in abundance and who loves us gently. But the reality is that we live in a world where destruction is ruthless and sin is fierce and distractions are loud. And sometimes, in a desperate attempt at a rescue, God has to take drastic measures. But this, we can be sure of: Our God is good and our God is love. In many of the narratives we find not a God who delights in wrath, but who has been desperate to redeem what has been created.

In this passage of Haggai, we find a people who have grown distracted from building the house of God, because they were too busy scrambling for their own survival and providing for themselves. Immediately after the Israelites were deliverered from captivity and into the land promised them again, their hearts were set on remembrance of the love of God (Ezra 3). But they found themselves delayed by the king, who ordered for the building to cease. And so, they did. The house of God remained nothing more than an unfinished and forgotten foundation. And the people found themselves struggling.

But God declares that their struggling was more than a bout of bad luck. God is the Creator of the dew and the sun and had allowed a drought to enter their land, that they might remember their need for God’s provision. The drought was a cry for the people to remember and to return to the God who had been so faithful to them.

The issue was not that God needed a house to abide in. Rather the issue was in what it revealed of their heart’s condition. Their focus was on building up houses for themselves first, then getting around to rebuilding the house of God at a later, more convenient time. But here, God saw that they were repeating the same mistakes even still. They were forgetting their need for God and God’s provision. They would get swept up in the building of their own kingdoms. And history has revealed that when we try to be our own god, nothing else aligns.

Throughout the Biblical narrative, we find God desperately aching to express love to humanity. And though the love was often celebrated in the brief moments following, it was quickly forgotten. And so God sent us a Savior who redeemed us in His life, death and resurrection. There is tremendous power and grace and love in that redemption.

And yet, I still feel God’s ache. "Why can they still not remember? Why is their love so fickle? What do I have to do for them to remember My love and the way of love?"

Today, we abide in the recognition that our lives and our world still desperately need to be transformed by the love of God. The gift has been given, but still needs to be received in the hearts of many. We ache with God, for a world that forgets to remember. We pray for transformation in our own lives, where we have been prone to forgetfulness, prone to wandering. We pray that our hearts would be made soft to the wooings of our faithful, everloving God and that we might be made to look more like Him.

Lord, we want to remember Your love.
So often the struggle is how quickly we are distracted by the day to day demands and delights.
Teach us to remember.
May we write of Your love on our hearts and our homes and may we speak of it daily, until we wonder how we could
ever have forgotten it.

Josh Kleinfeld