Writing a weekly blog has turned out to be harder than what I thought. By the time I finish sermon preparation, I feel like I have already run out of “fresh” material to share, and if I give too much away about the message on Sunday morning, then maybe some will just skip church and “attend” the blog.

But this series on Haggai has stretched me. Every week I think I am facing the undaunted task of trying to make what appears to be the most obscure text in the entire Bible come alive to hearers in the 21st Century. And every week, against all odds, I feel like the Word has come alive, to me first, then to my hearers, hopefully.

Obviously, the messages we find in Haggai are only a very small sampling of what the entire messages as they were delivered to the first audience. So there are some gaps and critical pieces that we wish we had. Bible scholars strive to piece together the chronology of the events and the right sequences of the messages. In the end, no consensual narrative emerges, so we have to use our best judgment.

This week’s text, Haggai’s last message, is a good example of the kind of challenge faced by preachers who want to stay faithful to the text but not bore their audience to death. The message refers to events that will happen in the end of time. God says that once again he will “shake the nations.” In case we miss it, he says he will shake “heaven and earth.”

So we are not talking just about any ordinary shaking here. We are talking about the mother of all shakings, the kind of shaking the world has never once witnessed nor will it ever witness again. To give you an idea, God has given us a little teaser. It’s described in Exodus 19, the time God spoke directly to Moses on Mount Sinai. There was shock and awe everywhere. Everyone, including Moses, was absolutely terrified at the sight. The people begged God never  to do that again because they thought they were going to perish on the spot.

In the midst of some sobering news of impending doom; however, God does what God does best: He promises His people that they will be kept safe, if they continue to trust Him. He admonishes them to keep investing on the things that will last forever. And He assures them that their hope ultimately rides on the promise of the coming Messiah.

Well, guess what? The Messiah has come. We now await the unfolding of the rest of the story Meanwhile, we have work to do. Let’s make sure we focus on the job still remaining to help the Gospel advance to the ends of the earth.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

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