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“Time is on my side,” sang Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones several decades ago. Although time may have been a benefit for Mick and his relationship with a woman, in reality it is not on the side of any of us. As simplistic and over-used as it may be, the clock is ticking for everyone. We cannot, as Jim Croce wished, put time in a bottle. However, although time is not on our side, God is.

After God’s people, Judah, had returned to their homeland from Babylon where they had lived in captivity, they were experiencing a problem with time. They had been back in their homes for about eighteen years, but something was dreadfully wrong. They had not rebuilt the temple which had been destroyed when Babylon conquered them. It wasn’t time to do so, they thought. The Lord had something to say about their lack of concern for His dwelling place, and He expressed his displeasure through the prophet Haggai.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord. Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” (Haggai 1:2, 4). 1

What were God’s people doing about the abiding presence of God in their lives? Nothing. Taking their ease, as far as their Lord and Creator was concerned.

And the result of their lack of care about the dwelling place of the Lord?

“You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.” (Hag 1:6, 9–11).

Hmm. Sounds like the Lord of all the earth is serious about their lack of concern for His temple. It was not time, He said, to be busy about businesses and families and other normal activities of everyday life without being concerned about God’s presence in their midst. He made sure life did not go well for them.

Why? To show them the one thing that was necessary.

Jesus said this about where God dwells:

“Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14:19b–20).

This is where we Christians must live. In Him. It doesn’t matter whether we think it is “time” to do so or not. There is no life of true thriving without Him.

American Christians are busy. Jobs. Family. Friends. Chores. All of these radiate around us and impinge upon us. But we must take the time to “build” a dwelling place for the Lord our God. Time, according to the Lord, is not on your side in this issue. But He is. He insists on this because He loves us and knows we cannot find true life any other way.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

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