(This series of articles were written at the beginning of the first lockdown in March/April 2020)
It has taken a nasty virus to force the possibility of a major change … but has the Church taken notice? My current thesis, that will develop in these articles, is a bold one and , therefore, before I drag others into my “world”, I need to know that it is God-instigated and not a sole product of my creative juices. Then something came to mind, something from four years ago …
It was nine days before our Foundations conference weekend in the Lake District. I had just visited a doctor over a “minor” medical matter, but he thought otherwise and booked me in for a thorough examination in the hospital, scheduled for nine days later, the start of our conference. In my spirit I knew that something was wrong, not with the diagnosis but with the situation. In those days I was 100% in charge of the conferences, they simply wouldn’t happen properly without me. I had to be there, not in in a cold examination room being probed. Our WhatsApp intercessors group started praying earnestly for me. Sarah de Silva had a Scripture, given to her friend as they were interceding for me. That Scripture gave me the assurance I needed, as did the complete healing I experienced that night after Chris and Lindy Hill had travelled miles to pray over me and anoint me with oil. This is the Scripture:
“‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:23)
Yes, this seems a bit over the top and it would have been if the Scripture had emerged from within my own mind and spirit. But it served simply to remind me that, as a child of God, the Lord has chosen me (as He has us all) and that was manna to my ear at the time. I look at it now and it still speaks to me, not that I believe that I am a re-incarnation of Zerubbabel (I can’t even pronounce the name), but that it has encouraged me to revisit the Book of Haggai.
Another jolt in my spirit is a phrase that I have used a few times in talks I have recently given, without checking the source at the time, I will shake the Nations. My point was that it doesn’t take a prophet or even a Christian to notice that every nation of the world is currently being shaken like never before! It seems that this phrase is in Isaiah and Haggai:
His breath is like a rushing torrent, rising up to the neck. He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction; he places in the jaws of the peoples a bit that leads them astray. (Isaiah 30:28)
‘I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. (Haggai 2:7)
It is also mentioned twice more in Haggai, in the sense of shaking the heavens and the earth (2:6, 2:21), indicating that this is to be a major theme in a book that only consists of two chapters.
Another observation that I made follows on from this, that the Name of God and also His title, The Lord Almighty, are mentioned an awful lot of times in this very small book (only Obadiah is smaller in the Hebrew Scriptures). God’s Name (Yahweh, Jehovah) appears 23 times and the Lord Almighty appears 12 times. This statistic becomes relevant when we factor in the size of the book and discover that the frequency of mentions of God’s Name is greater than in every other book of the Bible and, in terms of the Lord Almighty, only Malachi has a greater frequency of mention.
God simply pours out of this small book, perhaps it should be re-examined in more detail.
This is what I did, looking at it with fresh eyes in terms of my personal journey and the current world situation. And I was amazed.
But, first … (to be continued …)
This is an extract from the book, Flockdown: Is the Church out for the count?, available for £5 at https://www.sppublishing.com/flockdown-263-p.asp
Is the book of Haggai key to the current crisis?